Newly Written and Recorded Solo Piano Pieces from The Absolute Sound Contributor Mark Lehman: Lyrical Classical Works on Vinyl LP of Sleeping Cats Feature Stellar Playing and Intimate Sonics
About the composer
Mark Louis Lehman was born in Cincinnati in 1947, studied at the University of Michigan, and taught English at the University of Cincinnati for three decades. He has reviewed classical music recordings for the American Record Guide (since 1991) and later also for The Absolute Sound. His creative projects include a short novel, Mocky’s Revinge, published in 2006, as well as various compositions for piano, for voice and piano, and for small chamber ensembles. His music is melodic, tonally-based but often chromatic, classic in form and proportion, and indebted to such 20th Century masters as Hindemith, Prokofiev, and Bartok. His works have been issued on Enharmonic, Albany, and Rick Sowash CDs, but as a long-time LP collector, Lehman has always wanted to release some of his music on vinyl, hence the present “black disc” with four of his pieces for solo piano.
Sonatina in C puts bouncy, capricious, somewhat ragtimey outer allegros before and after a slow and rather sad middle movement that begins with a lyrical theme played by the left hand in the piano’s middle and lower registers. This theme is then developed in an agitated central section that ends abruptly before returning in its original form with an added line of flowing ornamentation above it.
Pensive Variations is the earliest-written piece on the program, and stylistically somewhat more wide-ranging than the later works here. The “theme” is simply two intervals (a perfect fifth and a perfect fourth) that rock back and forth, a process that highlights the dissonant minor second and diminished fourth generated when these two consonant intervals are juxtaposed. This primal but enigmatic idea is first stated, then elaborated in six strongly-contrasted (but always fairly slow) variants, then re-stated to conclude the piece.
About the performers
Toronto-based pianist Angela Park has been praised for her “stunningly beautiful pianism” (Grace Welsh Prize, Chicago), “beautiful tone and sensitivity” (American Record Guide), and playing “with such brilliant clarity it took your breath away” (Chapala, Mexico). She’s performed as both soloist and chamber musician in Canada, the United States, Europe, Japan, and Mexico, and won numerous awards and prizes in major competitions including the International Grace Welsh Prize for Piano in Chicago, World Piano Competition in Cincinnati, Canadian National Music Festival, Honens International Piano Competition, and the Maria Canals International Piano Competition in Barcelona.
Austrian pianist Albert Mühlb.ck has given recitals and performed as soloist with orchestras in Austria, Germany, France, Italy, England, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Turkey, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan, Mexico, and the USA, and won awards in competitions in both Europe and America. His recordings, for CDs and radio broadcasting corporations, include works by Schubert, Liszt, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, and Chopin.
David DeBoor Canfield, producer
Chip Reardin, post-production editing
Randall Wright, jacket design
Sherri Ann Lehman, cover and composer photos
LP Mastering by QCA, Cincinnati, OH
Manufactured by Gotta Groove, Cleveland, OH