John Knowles Paine

Composer(s): John Knowles Paine
Album Title: John Knowles Paine: Selected Piano Works 
Cat. No.: 80424 (2 CDs)
Genre: Classical
Description: Selected Piano Works

Denver Oldham, piano

John Knowles Paine was the first American composer to be trained to the highest international standards, which, in his day, meant German standards. He organized the music department at Harvard and became the first American to be named professor of music at an American university.

Paine's output for the piano falls almost entirely within the realm of the romantic character piece, the keyboard miniature, frequently cast in song form (ABA). The titles emphasize Paine’s relationship to the genres favored by the leading keyboard composers of his day: romance, impromptu, nocturne. Works of this type depend not on musical development of an idea, but rather on the immediate attractiveness of the melody and harmonies that make them up. Often they are songs without words, to use Mendelssohn’s phrase, short pieces that capture a single mood.  Many of these pieces display his desire to avoid the simple perfect cadence, which he considered to have become a clichæ; he found many different ways to reach his final chord other than an unadorned progression of dominant chord to tonic.

Denver Oldham has performed extensively in Europe, South America and the United States. He is devoted to expanding public appreciation of music by neglected American composers. Oldham has done extensive research on the piano works of John Knowles Paine and has found many unpublished works that are represented on this recording. 
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