Michael Allen Harrison, composer and pianist, and a man of extraordinary talents is the featured artist of this weeks CD recommendation. This double CD set is a compilation of his favorite compositions and it includes many four and five star recordings in my rating system. These Harrison recordings came to me by way of a gift. The following portion of a recommendation is a good summary of my own opinion.
"My one-word summary of Michael Allen Harrison's double CD set, "Pianist/Composer," is "WOW!" I have seen and heard Harrison's name for a long time, but none of his CDs came my way for review until I reviewed one of his students' CDs (the very impressive Alexx Carnathan) earlier this year. I was not prepared to be so dazzled and charmed at the same time. This set is made up of Harrison's favorite compositions from the past twenty years or so, and includes his new "Concerto #1 in Eb Major," which is a tour de force all by itself. Both discs are very eclectic in their musical range, but Disc 1 is more classical overall, and Disc 2 has a jazzier flavor. The majority of the pieces are orchestrated or have accompanying instruments in addition to the piano, but Harrison's piano is the star of the show. We're only halfway through the year, but I'm certain that this will be on my list of favorites for 2004. "
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Photograph: Monkey on Rock of Gibraltar.