Arthur Farwell: Piano Music, Volume One

Catalogue No: TOCC0126
EAN/UPC: 5060113441263
Release Date: 2012-10-29
Composer: Arthur Farwell
Artists: Lisa Cheryl Thomas

The American composer Arthur Farwell (1872-1952) is remembered as the leading member of a group of 'Indianists' who used Native American tribal melodies. But Farwell's stylistic range was much wider than is realised today. This CD, the first of two to be recorded by Lisa Cheryl Thomas, herself of Cherokee, Blackfoot and Sioux ancestry, presents first The Vale of Enitharmon, based on the mythology of William Blake, which mixes Romanticism and Impressionism. Impressions of the Wa-Wan Ceremony of the Omahas represents an American Indian ritual so revered that warring tribes would lay down their arms to let the procession pass. And the experimental Polytonal Studies pit two different keys against each other, exploiting the attraction of opposites to generate unusual harmonies and melodies.

Lisa Cheryl Thomas, piano

Listen To This Recording:

  1. The Vale of Enitharmon, Op. 91 (1930)
  2. Impressions of the Wa-Wan Ceremony of the Omahas, Op. 21 (1905)

  3. No. 1 Receiving the Messenger: ‘Slowly and quietly’
  4. No. 2 Nearing the Village: ‘Moderately’
  5. No. 3 Song of Approach: ‘Moderately, with breadth’
  6. No. 4 Laying down the Pipes: ‘Very broadly’
  7. No. 5 Raising the Pipes: ‘Lightly, with motion’
  8. No. 6 Invocation: ‘With dignity, slowly’
  9. No. 7 Song of Peace: ‘Peacefully’
  10. No. 8 Choral: ‘Broadly, with religious feeling’
  11. Polytonal Studies, Op. 109: series I (1940–52) [The first key given is that of the bass clef, the second that of the treble]

  12. No. 1 C major/G major
  13. No. 2 G major/C major
  14. No. 3 C major/A major
  15. No. 4 A flat major/C major
  16. No. 5 G flat major/A flat major
  17. No. 6 C major/B major
  18. No. 7 C major/D flat major
  19. No. 8 C major/E flat major
  20. No. 9 G major/D flat major
  21. No. 10 D major/B flat major
  22. No. 11 F major/E flat major
  23. No. 34 E flat major/E flat minor

3 reviews for Arthur Farwell: Piano Music, Volume One

  1. :

    ‘Lisa Cheryl Thomas is of Native American descent and while this might help explain her facility with the Wa-Wan Impressions she shows equal skill with Farwell’s other idioms. Her playing is precise but also full of intensity and she wisely glides over Farwell’s occasional sentimentalities. She also provides an excellent full-length essay on Farwell and other Indianist composers. […] This will make Ms. Thomas’ present recording and its promised successor most welcome to devotees of American and early 20th century music.’

    —William Kreindler, MusicWeb International

  2. :

    ‘Lisa Cheryl Thomas is herself of Native American ancestry, and the love she feels for this music is near palpable. Her musicological background work is impeccable, too, as she used facsimiles of Farwell’s manuscripts in preparation for this recording. She pens her own wide-ranging booklet note, also, which itself makes for fascinating reading. Recommended, and the second volume is awaited with enthusiasm.’

    —Colin Clarke, Fanfare Magazine May/June 2013

  3. :

    ‘The music retains a certain nobility, and it’s evocative enough to ensure that the suite has more than merely historical interest. […]

    Thomas has the measure of all the music on the disc.’

    —Calum MacDonald, International Record Review February 2013

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