Childhood Memories: Music for Younger Pianists

Composer(s): Amy Beach, Robert Starer, Ned Rorem, Dianne Goolkasian Rahbee, Ben Weber, William Mayer, Miriam Gideon, George Perle, Lou Harrison, Louise Talma, Roger Sessions
Album Title: Childhood Memories: Music for Younger Pianists 
Cat. No.: 80590
Genre: Classical
Description: Compositions by Amy Beach, Miriam Gideon, Lou Harrison, William Mayer, George Perle, Dianne Goolkasian Rahbee, Ned Rorem, Roger Sessions, Robert Starer, Louise Talma, and Ben Weber

Sahan Arzruni, piano

Introducing the young soul to music is a matter of no small consequence.  It requires a delicate balance between art-the product of grown-up experience-and artlessness, the province of childhood. When a composer of note addresses his music to a young audience, he is often reflecting on his own childhood: revisiting a child's state of mind, recapturing it, and transmitting it through his adult artistic sensibility. Alternatively, the composer may portray some artifact of childhood-a toy, for example-with the kind of self-conscious simplicity that appeals to a child's natural naiveté. A third possibility is to compose pieces that the young can actually perform.

Brevity is the key to all three objectives. For despite a child's natural attraction to music and his potential technical ability, his attention span is limited. It is not always easy for a composer to reduce the scope of his compositions in this way. One might say that it is the mark of a truly great composer to be able to distill his music for the nourishment of young souls without sacrificing his own artistic personality. This recording features music by composers who have indeed struck that "delicate balance."

The works featured on this recording are rarely if ever performed in concert. Taken individually, they are short compositions, technically accessible to gifted budding pianists. Most notable composers have written in this genre. Because such compositions are short and deceptively simple, professionals deem them "unsuitable" for concert performance and do not program them. I have chosen to circumvent the problem by performing these miniatures as sets with an overarching design, in the manner of the poetic cycles of the Romantic masters. In this way, the whole can become greater than its parts, as it were, resulting in a program that is pianistically challenging, perhaps even intellectually stimulating-but most important of all, musically satisfying. -Sahan Arzruni

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