John Knowles Paine: Selected Piano Works
Liner Notes   Cat. No. 80424     Release Date: 1993-01-01

Denver Oldham, piano

John Knowles Paine (1839-1906) was the first American composer to be fully trained to the highest international standards, which, in his day, meant German standards. He was known in his lifetime—and has increasingly become recognized in ours—as a master of the large forms, the symphony and oratorio in particular, which formed the cornerstone of an American concert-music tradition. But he also composed in smaller genres, such as the art song and the short character piece for piano that was a ubiquitous feature of the musical life of Europe and America in the mid-nineteenth century.

With the exception of two early piano sonatas (one of which is lost), 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, even as they offer the composer-pianist the opportunity to create a wide variety of keyboard textures.

Paine's harmonic language reflected the developments of his own time, and he made increasingly personal use of the potential of this traditional harmony. (Many of these pieces display his desire to avoid the simple perfect cadence, which he considered to have become a cliché; he found many different ways to reach his final chord other than an unadorned progression of dominant chord to tonic.) Although he was essentially a romantic composer, his textures often show influence from the keyboard works of Bach, particularly in their motivic coherence and in his predilection for inverting melody and accompaniment.

Denver Oldham

John Knowles Paine: Selected Piano Works

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Christmas Gift, Op. 7
John Knowles Paine
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Four Characteristic Pieces, Op. 25: Dance
John Knowles Paine
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Four Characteristic Pieces, Op. 25: Romance
John Knowles Paine
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Four Characteristic Pieces, Op. 25: Impromptu
John Knowles Paine
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Four Characteristic Pieces, Op. 25: Rondo Giocoso
John Knowles Paine
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Romance, Op. 12
John Knowles Paine
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Three Piano Pieces, Op. 41: A Spring Idyl
John Knowles Paine
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Three Piano Pieces, Op. 41: Birthday Impromptu
John Knowles Paine
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Three Piano Pieces, Op. 41: Fuga Giocosa
John Knowles Paine
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Valse Caprice
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Ten Sketches: In The Country, Op. 26 - Woodnotes
John Knowles Paine
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Ten Sketches: In The Country, Op. 26 - Wayside Flowers
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Ten Sketches: In The Country, Op. 26 - Under The Lindens
John Knowles Paine
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Ten Sketches: In The Country, Op. 26 - The Shepherd's Lament
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Ten Sketches: In The Country, Op. 26 - Village Dance
John Knowles Paine
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Ten Sketches: In The Country, Op. 26 - Rainy Day
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Ten Sketches: In The Country, Op. 26 - The Mill
John Knowles Paine
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Ten Sketches: In The Country, Op. 26 - Gipsies
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Ten Sketches: In The Country, Op. 26 - Farewell
John Knowles Paine
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Ten Sketches: In The Country, Op. 26 - Welcome Home
John Knowles Paine
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Four Character Pieces, Op. 11: Frisch
John Knowles Paine
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Four Character Pieces, Op. 11: Feierlich
John Knowles Paine
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Four Character Pieces, Op. 11: Etwas Bewegt
John Knowles Paine
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Four Character Pieces, Op. 11: Willkommen
John Knowles Paine
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Funeral March In Memory Of President Lincoln, Op. 9
John Knowles Paine
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Romance, Op. 39
John Knowles Paine
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Sonata in A Minor, Op. 1: Allegro
John Knowles Paine
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Sonata in A Minor, Op. 1: Adagio
John Knowles Paine
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Sonata in A Minor, Op. 1: Scherzo
John Knowles Paine
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Sonata in A Minor, Op. 1: Finale
John Knowles Paine
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Nocturne, Op. 45
John Knowles Paine
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