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Celebrated for his art songs, Ned Rorem has said he conceives all of his music vocally: ‘Whatever my music is written for […] it is always the singer within me crying to get out’. Nevertheless, these 33 miniatures, all composed initially as presents for family and friends, appear to suit the piano very well, though several of them were later recycled into larger works. Piano Album 1 collects together 27 pieces composed between 1978 and 2001, many of them dedicated to Rorem’s late partner, Jim Holmes; Six Friends comprises similar pieces from 2006-2007. All are extremely brief – only three exceed two minutes – and all reflect Rorem’s pre-modernist, Francophile Romanticism: each is a tiny flake, a melodic gesture of tenderness and gratitude, played with exemplary care by Carolyn Enger. The only drawback, perhaps, is that, like snowflakes, they tend to meld together when falling one after another for nearly an hour.

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Piano International, 2014 - ©Rhinegold Publishing