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Partain records second solo piano CD

Greg Partain CDA range of compositions that includes heavily textured pieces by Rachmaninov, lighter works by Scarlatti, lyricism from Brahms, a toccata from a Transylvania professor, and Beethoven’s powerful Appassionata make up the repertoire for music professor Greg Partain’s newest CD of solo piano music, titled Gregory Partain, piano, Volume II.

“I always want my programs to revolve around a central work that carries the heaviest expressive weight, and for this CD, it is the Appassionata of Beethoven,” Partain said. “This piece is one of the most powerful artistic statements available to any pianist. It gives a player the opportunity to unleash a lot of fury, in an artistic way.”

Partain said he chose the Scarlatti sonatas, with their cleaner, more transparent texture, as a foil to the thundering work of Beethoven, and selected Brahms’ Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 21, No. 1, as a lyrical statement. The recording begins with three preludes by Rachmaninov that are “strong enough to put at the end of a program, but I wanted to start the disc off with a bang,” Partain said.

A special part of the repertoire is the world premiere recording of Transylvania music professor Larry Barnes’ Toccata: Act of War (2002), an intense piece written partly in response to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.

“This is a very exciting piece that I wanted to introduce to a wider audience,” Partain said. “It’s rhythmically riveting, uses a lot of the resources of the instrument, and holds together beautifully.”

Partain recorded the CD using a Steinway at Baylor University, with assistance from a friend on the Baylor faculty, and experimented with some close miking to give the listener more of the sound the pianist actually hears, as opposed to being 100 feet away in a concert hall.

“I wanted to create an effect of a very close, intimate, tactile connection with the listener, to bring the audience into the inner circle of the performer,” Partain said. “There’s an immediacy and a directness to the recording—the piano sounds very close.”

For information on obtaining a copy of the CD, contact Partain at (859) 233-8177 or by e-mail at gpartain@transy.edu.

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