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Ives’ magnificent Second Piano Sonata, a homage to the great Transcendentalists, has fared well on disc. Marc-André Hamelin has recorded it twice, while Ciro Longobardi gives a performance of drama and variety; Philip Mead provides a strong reading in his superb conspectus of Ives’ piano music, while Pierre-Laurent Aimard can appear rather cool. Daniel Brylewski is a pianist who attends to the tender side of Ives, which makes his ‘Thoreau’ and ‘The Alcotts’ such a joy. Brylewski’s layering in the first movement, ‘Emerson’, is an absolute triumph.

The recording is excellent. However, at just 49 minutes, this disc provides short measure, despite the fact that a lot of notes are crammed in. That said, Ives devotees will find much to enjoy.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica

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