Instrumentalist - Piano
Louis Moreau Gottschalk: Piano Music
Released: May 1, 2003
Catalog Num: 8559145(CD)
Cecile Licad may have been groomed under Rudolf Serkin's exacting tutelage, but her visceral, exuberant Gottschalk playing evokes Vladimir Horowitz's diabolical art. It's not just speed and accuracy that Licad brings to the impossible repeated notes in Le banjo or Tremolo, but also impulsive dynamic surges and fustian drama. Her nimble, skywritten runs in La jota aragonesa simply take your breath away, as do her exquisitely shaped soft chords. For all of Licad's affetuoso teasing in The Dying Poet, somehow the work's surface treacle never turns maudlin.

She summons up every inch of blood and thunder in virtuosic nationalist works such as the Souvenirs d'Andalousie, Souvenir de Porto, and the Union. Her rhythm is infectious as well as galvanizing: listen to La Gallina's tango-influenced underpinnings and you'll be dancing within seconds. The sonics turn boxy at loud moments and occasionally amplify Licad's involuntary vocal accompaniments, but that doesn't matter in the long run. After all, we've got the best of Gottschalk, played to the hilt, at budget price. A sensational disc: don't miss it. [8/9/2003]

- Jed Distler (Classics Today)
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Updated: Oct-28-2005
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