• Writer Ernesto Lecuona Y Casada
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Ernesto Lecuona Y Casada


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  • Language: Instrumental
Donna Coleman "Afro-Cuban Dances: La Comparsa (Live)"
Afro-Cuban Dances: La Comparsa (Live)
  • Performed By: Donna Coleman
  • Album: The Lost Lady
  • Album UPC: 889211021727
  • Album ID: donnacoleman2
  • Label: OutBach®
  • CD Baby Account: CDB02601270
  • CD Baby Track ID: TR0002077245
  • ISRC: AUDO31472038
  • Released: 11/19/15

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The Lost Lady criss-crosses the Atlantic Ocean in search of the meaning of Life and Love, with the music of of J.S. Bach, Chopin, Cervantes, Lecuona, de la Vega, Joplin, Albright, Bolcom, and Cionek as her roadmap to the stars.


The Lost Lady, notes © 2015 Donna Coleman

The Lost Lady is a Grand and Enchanting Lady, a time traveller and ocean voyager, criss-crossing the Atlantic in search of the sad ships that carried European adventurers and entrepreneurs and Africans westward to “the colonies” and sugar and cotton eastward to the coffee houses of London and the mills of Manchester, and the music that went with them. Gathering the musical treasures at the edges and on the isles of this waterway, The Lost Lady links diverse eras and styles to tell the story of Ragtime, of Jazz, of Bach the improviser, borrower, and syncopater, of Chopin the improviser, and ultimately, of “an insurance salesman who wrote music in his spare time.” This insurance salesman is in fact America’s greatest composer, Charles Ives, whose spirit, though not tangibly represented on this disc, suffuses every track. His music has been and remains the nucleus of my performance research for the past forty-plus years.

Musicological and stylistic themes link the twenty-one songs and dances. Variation as structural principle and fundamental guiding aesthetic (Life) force. Borrowing as pervasive if not universal practice, a handing-down of ideas, melodies, rhythms, harmonies that is one of mankind’s oldest ways of preserving its stories and its culture in the oral tradition. Improvisation as Composition, Interpretation leading to Transformation.

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) is universally acclaimed as Western European Art Music’s greatest (or at least among the top three) composer(s). But he didn’t create all of his compositions “from scratch.” The four works by this composer presented here are all interpretations of and improvisations upon original melodies “composed” by others and “borrowed” by Bach, transformed through melodic elaboration, contrapuntal juxtaposition, and harmonic enrichment.

The somewhat starkly translucent interpretation (retaining only the ornamented melodic line and the bare-bones, quasi pizzicato bass line) of what is popularly known as Largo from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Concerto for Harpsichord and Strings in F minor, BWV 1056, is the program’s aesthetic point of departure, a cry into silence that culminates in the extreme note-laden Romanticism of Fryderyk Chopin’s Ballade in F minor opus 52 some one hundred years later. The origins of this movement’s melody are subject to speculation. Christian Wolff sums up the situation with regard to assigning dates and provenance for many of Bach’s concerto movements in his article for Bach Perspectives 7: “The compositional history of Johann Sebastian Bach’s concertos is one of the most important, interesting, challenging, and—as of late—hotly contested areas of Bach scholarship. What makes this subject particularly complicated is the proportionately large number of missing original sources. . . . Hence, more often than not we lack hard evidence regarding when and how Bach composed a given concerto or which solo instrument he initially had in mind for it” [Wolff 97]. A case in point, Bach may have borrowed the Largo tune (that is marked Adagio in the Barenreiter Urtext edition) from a flute concerto [TWV 51:G2] in G major by Georg Philipp Telemann; it may have been conceived originally for oboe; it may have comprised the central movement of a lost Concerto for Violin and Strings in the key of G minor. The concerto’s first movement forms the Sinfonia to Cantata BWV 156, Ich steh mit einem Fuß im Grabe! (Leipzig, 1729) (“I stand with one foot in the grave”).

Through embellishment and variation, and employing diverse compositional models (also borrowed), Bach’s organ chorale preludes interpret and reinvent tunes often borrowed from the Lutheran chorale tradition. Starting with Johann Walter’s 1524 Geystliches Gesangk Buchleyn four-part settings of the single-line chorales, evolving across the next century to Michael Praetorious’s madrigal-like settings in the Musae Sioniae (1605–1610, that includes a version of Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland for a pair of SATB antiphonal choirs) we come to Dieterich Buxtehude (1637–1707) whose lyrical settings of Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (BuxWV 211) and Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ (BuxWV 196) seem the direct precursors of Bach’s Orgelbüchlein versions. Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland traces its origins to Gregorian chant. Bach set the chorale tune, which also attracted renditions by Johann Pachelbel, Johann Schein, Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, Johann Walter, and Max Reger, several times for organ (BWV 599, 659, 660, 661, 661a, 699). BWV 659, arranged by Italian composer-pianist Ferruccio Busoni (1866–1924), forms part of the collection of Bach’s later, Leipzig interpretations of melodies he had arranged for the Weimar Orgelbüchlein, and represents a pinnacle of his keyboard artistry and transformative genius. The melancholy Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ is attributed to Johann Agricola (1492–1566), who was mentored and befriended by Martin Luther himself, and dates from c. 1535 [Cole 57]. Bach’s transformation of the relatively sedate and rhythmically staid melody with passing tones and trills can be traced through Cantata BWV 185, Barmherziges Herze der ewigen Liebe (Weimar 1715, Chorale #6) and the eponymous Cantata BWV 177 (Leipzig 1732, Chorale #5). The BWV 639 version for solo organ, arranged for piano by Busoni, expands the chorale homophony into the steady arpeggiated tenor voice that meanders its expressive landscape like a river of tears.

The structural backbone of Myra Hess’s (1890–1965) arrangement of a work “by” Johann Sebastian Bach and commonly known as “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” is a melody entitled Werde munter, mein Gemüte, composed by Johann Schop (c. 1590–1667) with text by Johann Rist, that first appeared in a 1642 Lüneburg publication, Himlische Lieder. Bach probably knew the 1715 Gotha hymnal version and employed it (with diverse texts) in several of his cantatas, including BWV 55, Ich armer Mensch, ich Südenknecht; BWV 146, Wir müssen durch viel Trübsal; BWV 147, Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben; BWV 154, Mein liebster Jesus ist verloren; and as Chorale #40 of the St Matthew Passion, BWV 244. No wonder the confusion over the title of this tune that is known also as Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele; Jesu bleibet meine Freude; Jesu, meiner Seelen Wonne; and Bin ich gleich von dir gewiche. Bach created two quite different organ chorale prelude versions for Das Orgelbüchlein (1708–1717), BWV 1118 and the one adapted from Cantata BWV 147 that Myra Hess arranged for solo piano. Later composers including Johann Christoph Oley, Max Reger, Michael Gotthard Fischer (two settings), and Sigfrid Karg-Elert have similarly been inspired by this melody.

Listeners acquainted with the other recordings in my discography may wonder at the inclusion of several tracks from the first OutBach® release, Don’t Touch Me, the thirty-seven solo piano Danzas Cubanas by Ignacio Cervantes (1847–1904). I borrow from myself to tell The Lost Lady story. Consider that Cervantes was born (in Havana) while Chopin was suffering through his last years of illness (in Paris and surrounds). Separated by an ocean? No, they were joined by it. Chopin’s Ballade opus 52 was composed in 1842, and its Bach-inspired contrapuntal subtlety, variation structure, and consummate lyricism radiate through everything since. The Danzas Cubanas are Ballades in miniature, crammed with poetry, pathos, ardor, and élan thanks to the fusion of African and European elements that coalesced into a range of Afro-Cuban rhythmic structures associated with the clavé (the roots of the habañera and of Ragtime’s characteristic “cakewalk” rhythm).

Ernesto Lecuona (1895–1963), born in Havana at the time Cervantes was exiled in Mexico (banished from Cuba during the Cuban War for Independence), brought Cuban art music to international attention. His “patrol march” La Comparsa shares elements with Louis Moreau Gottschalk’s Souvenir de Porto Rico, evoking memories of street bands that formed part of the carnivals of Santiago de Cuba and Havana. Comparsa instruments include brake drums struck with metal beaters, an assortment of other drums including the tambores that Lecouna imitates in the piano’s syncopated bassline, and the double-reed trompetica china or the corneta china (Chinese trumpet or bugle), the sound of which is loud and distinctive enough to be heard above the raucous drumming.

A generation later, Cuban-born Aurelio de la Vega (born 1925) continued the proud tradition of Cuban art music initially in his native land and for the past forty-five years, himself an exile from home, in the United States where he is now Emeritus Professor of Composition at California State University Northridge. Danza Lenta, written in Miramar (a plush suburb of Havana) in 1956, is the composer’s interpretation of the Cuban danzón. The opening phrase, here an 8 + 8 antecedent-consequent, moves languidly stepwise in perfect fourths against lazily strummed bass chords, inviting dancers to respond with their movements in the livelier, poco più mosso B phrase that develops through a series of two-bar sequentially rising gestures. The only clear nods to Afro-Cuban rhythm are the triplets that the composer reserves for the cadence points in the A phrase; B moves strictly in eighth-notes. The second half of Danza Lenta transforms the first through subtle chromatic alterations of pitches and gossamer embellishments, creating a kaleidescope of colors that culminate in shimmering cascades of Messiaen-inspired chord streams. The key of G defines the cadence points throughout the A sections but this evocative, slow dance dissolves on D major with its dominant in the bass, the third (F#) is the structural melodic pitch throughout.

Fryderyk Chopin’s (1810–1849) admiration for Johann Sebastian Bach’s music is evident in its elaborate contrapuntal texture and precise voice leading, the ultimate fusion of chorale, fugue, and fantasia. Chopin was also admired as an improviser, and in Ballade #4 we hear the seeds of a style of pianism and an approach to melodic contour and ornamentation that would have to be the envy of the great Jazz pianists of the twentieth century. Like a Jazz chart, this Ballade is a Theme and Variations, extended by episodes, bridging passages, and a Chorale, that become increasingly florid as the journey unfolds.

Chopin’s Theme is a study in melodic and harmonic ambiguity that begins with a single pitch—C-natural—the fifth scale degree suspended in time and space like the nucleus of an atomic structure around which revolve its upper and lower neighbors, D-flat and B-natural. The syncopated placement of the embellishing, uncertain semi-tone intensifies the melodic structure throughout and keeps us guessing at the identity of the “home” tonality. This perhaps “lost” quality in the melody is further off-put by the unusual rhythmic and phrase structure. It is notated in 6/8, but the uneven phrase length causes a half-bar shift of starting point as it unfolds, and the entire phrase is effectively syncopated in Variation 1. Variation 2 introduces a dripping descending alto voice that winds like a river to the serene Chorale (at exactly one-third of the way already in the subdominant key of B-flat). Variation 3 is the epitome of Romanticism, a rhapsodic, skyward arcing melody floating on waves of arpeggios, a love supreme glistening for a few precious moments before entering the lost, otherworldly stillness that precedes the tragic, tempestuous Coda. This single composition represents the pinnacle not only of Chopin’s art but also of the entire Romantic “Age of the Piano” with its consummate lyricism, lush contrapuntal textures, and expressive narrative.

Ragtime presents another dimension of borrowing, interpreting, transforming. Classic piano Rags borrow their formal and harmonic structure from the March, their melodies from African-American folk music (itself a hybrid of European Cultivated and Vernacular repertories), and their rhythms from the Afro-Cuban mélange that coalesced over generations of slave ship voyages from Africa to the New World and settler ship voyages from Europe. Interpretations of banjo (an African import) picking and strumming transferred to the keyboard enliven the melodic material. The key ingredient—syncopation—is perhaps the single element that sets Ragtime apart from its points of origin, although it lies with the imagination, craft, and skill of the composer (improviser) to blend, season, and transform these ingredients into beautiful works of art. Three of the best are represented here.

Like Bach’s fugues, no two Rags by Scott Joplin (1867–1917) adhere to the same formal and harmonic structure, the composer never worked to a formula. Maple Leaf Rag homages its March model in form [AABB A CCDD], texture [oom-pah bass mimics the brass bands’ tubas], and 16-bar phrases. The AB phrases (that Joplin, in this Rag, “rounds” off with a repetition of the A phrase) establish the A-flat key center and as in most Marches, C digresses to the sub-dominant. Somewhat off-grid is the D strain that begins in IV but modulates back to the tonality of AB to reconnect with its “home” key. The syncopated, arpeggiated treble mimics banjo-picking and evokes the “Cakewalk” motif (in the opinion of this writer, a clear connection to the Cuban habañera) in the A and B phrases, and in bars 9-16 we can clearly hear banjo-strumming. Joplin combines these myriad elements to create America’s genuinely “classical” music. Composed on the eve of the twentieth century (1899) in a relatively new boom town (Sedalia IL) born in the wake of the Transcontinental Railroad, Maple Leaf Rag is more than a brilliant piece of piano music: it is a symbol of an era of Western Expansion that witnessed the end of slavery (and therefore the beginning of the recognition of Africans as Americans) while perpetrating the near total annihilation of the Native Americans.

Charles Ives may have heard Scott Joplin and his band in the vicinity of the Chicago Exposition in 1893; Ives went home to Danbury and wrote his Ragtime Dances, three of which became movements of the Piano Sonata No. 1. Joplin lived in New York City from 1907 until his death in 1917, and Ives lived and worked there in those years, but we have no evidence that Ives was in any way familiar with Joplin’s work. Nevertheless, we know that Ragtime was everywhere by that time. Across the Atlantic, Debussy had composed Golliwogg’s Cakewalk (1908) (Rachmaninoff recorded it for Victrola in 1921!)

The CD title track, The Lost Lady, is one of several dozen Rags composed by Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award (for his setting of William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience) winner William Bolcom (born 1938), an homage to and lament for his first wife. Its structure extends to five distinct phrases that travel from G-sharp minor to its relative major B, to its subdominant E and ultimately to its relative minor C-sharp. The nearly impossibly slow tempo, dirge-like drooping A-phrase bassline, and melancholy tone that tinge the A and C phrases give way to the triumphant E phrase, hope is all. The equally beautiful Last Rag comprises three strains, AABBA’CCB, the variants consisting of volume shifts only. The central A phrase is elaborated and more richly scored, forte, the sad heart of the work that gives way to happier memories in C and ultimately back to B pianissimo, meant to be the Last Rag but in fact Bolcom wrote eighteen more.

William Bolcom and William Albright, colleagues at the University of Michigan School of Music where they later became my mentors and friends, got caught up in the late 1960s Ragtime Revival, Bolcom in part due to his friendship with the great stride pianist Eubie Blake, who with Noble Sissle created the wildly successful African-American Broadway musical Shuffle Along that ran for 504 performances following its premiere in 1921. Albright recorded the complete Rags of Scott Joplin for Music Masters in 1995. Albright and Bolcom began composing their own Rags, sending them to each other in the mail, rather like moves in a musical chess game.

William Albright’s (1944–1998) Sleepwalker’s Shuffle might be more accurately described as an example of “novelty piano” than Ragtime, the dotted eighth-sixteenth quasi-swing rhythm became the more favored style in the ‘20s and beyond. Its four-bar Introduction reprises as the Coda and as a sequentially developed introduction to the middle section, a raucous take-off on what Albright refers to as the “Chicken Scratch” . . . Harlem Style. The nine-bar bridge with its “walking tenths” parading the dark register of the piano’s low bass depicts Albright’s tongue-in-cheek humor. The overall retrograde structure is a modern touch, although Joplin himself produced Rags that returned to the opening phrase to conclude. William Albright and William Bolcom transformed Ragtime with their elegantly balanced structures, harmonic voluptuousness tinged with dissonance, melodies that sing like Schumann.

On September 11, 2001, New York City and the entire world were plunged into turmoil and tragedy. Edmund Cionek (born 1950) lives in that great city and was at home that awful day. He had been contemplating what to compose for my Celestial Railroad Tour the following spring. In the midst of the terror (“one could not not think about all the lives gone in a flash”), Ed found calm in the beautiful tenth century Gregorian antiphon Veni Creator Spiritus, the melody of which had previously been associated with the Ambrosian hymn Hic est dies versus Dei, and imagined it set in boogie-woogie style, the “driving, shuffling rhythm in the left hand spoke to the city’s resilience.” Veni Creator Spiritus Boogie follows traditional Blues form over a series of variations that introduce the pitches of the antiphon’s opening phrase. Like Charles Ives’s quasi-Ragtime versions of gospel standbys Bringing in the Sheaves and Welcome Voice, Cionek’s reverse contrafactum reveals the sacred soul of a musical style primarily associated with the secular realms.

This Lost Lady journey ends where it began, an homage to my beautiful Mother, the Grand Lady, the Enchantress, and in gratitude to my Father, whose love for her gave me the greatest gift of all: my Life.

The Lost Lady

1) Ernesto Lecuona y Casada (1895–1963): Afro-Cuban Dances Album #3 – La Comparsa (Carnival Procession) (1929) [3:11]

2) Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750): Concerto for Keyboard and Strings in F minor, BWV 1056 (1742), II Largo, from Cantata Ich steh mit einem Fuß im Grabe, BWV 156 (1729) [3:17]

3) Bach: Ich ruf’ zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 639 (1714), arranged by Ferruccio Busoni (1866–1924) from the version for solo organ in Das Orgelbüchlein (1708–1717) [3:50]

Ignacio Cervantes (Kawanag) (1847–1904): Danzas Cubanas (c. 1875–1895)
4) Te Quiero Tánto! (I Love You Very Much!) (1:01)
5) ¿Por Qué, Eh? (Why?) (1:23)
6) No Me Toques (Don’t Touch Me) (1:28)
7) La Celosa (The Jealous Woman) (1:17)
8) Ilusiones Perdidas (Lost Illusions) (1:25)
9) Homenaje (Homage) (1:37)

10) Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin (1810–1849): Ballade #4 in F minor, opus 52 (1842) [13:31]

11) Bach: Wohl mir, dass ich Jesum habe, BWV 147, arranged by Myra Hess (1890–1965) from the version for solo organ in Das Orgelbüchlein (1708–1717) [4:16]

12) Bach: Nun komm’ der Heiden Heiland, BWV 659, arranged by Ferruccio Busoni (1866–1924) from the version for solo organ (1740–50) [5:00]

13) William Elden Bolcom (1938): Lost Lady Rag (1969, revised 1970) [8:01]

14) Cervantes: No Llores Más (Weep No More) (1:25)

15) Scott Joplin (1867–1917): Maple Leaf Rag (1899) [3:44]

16) William Hugh Albright (1944–1998): The Dream Rags (1970) [4:24]
#1 Sleepwalker’s Shuffle (for Eubie Blake)

17) Aurelio de la Vega (1925): Danza Lenta (1956) [2:47]

18) Edmund Francis Cionek (1950): Veni Creator Spiritus Boogie
(9/11/2001 for Donna Coleman) [2:54]

19) Bolcom: Last Rag (1976) [5:25]

20) Cervantes: Gran Señora (The Grand Lady) (1:18)

21) Cervantes: La Encantadora (The Charming Girl) (0:54)

Thank you mille grazie

Joan, Len, Sandra & Rob, Mary K, Holly & Brian, Lin & Don, Tony & Caroline & Dakota, Kate & Gordon, Aurelio & Anne Marie & Angel, Bill & Joan, Carol B, Emanuele & Alice, Gianni, tutta la famiglia Bergamaschi, Will, Helena, Monique, Margaret & Dom, Luke, Joyce & Brian, Gary, Johannes, Bevan, Karen & Peter, Orestes & Wilson, Chris & Penny, Joannes & Lisa, Gian & Chris & Na, Peter B, Nic & Mark, Paolo F, Louie, Johnnie & Caroline, The Dino Brothers, Jacqueline & Ian, Geoff, Anita, Daniele & Susan, Victor & Yolanda, Donna B, Karen E, all my VCA students past and present, Georgina Binns and the awesome staff @ Lenton Parr Library, the phenomenal Paolo Fazioli and his brilliant technical and administrative team at Fazioli src, with special thanks and love to Mom & Dad & Muttley, “Mossie,” Linda & Ray & Tristan, Brenda & Keith, Brian & Smudge.

For Further Research

The J.S. Bach Home Page http://www.jsbach.org and http://www.bach-cantatas.com, Bach Cantatas Website are valuable and well organized resources.

Berlin, Edward A. “A Biography of Scott Joplin (c. 1867–1917).” Scott Joplin International Ragtime Foundation, 1998. http://www.scottjoplin.org/biography.htm.

———. Ragtime: A Musical and Cultural History. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984.

Bolcom, William and Robert Kimball. Reminiscing with Sissle and Blake. New York: Cooper Square Publishers, 1973.

Cole, Warwick. “Reflections on Bach’s ‘Ich ruf zu dir’: Signs and Portents.” Musical Times, Vol. 140, No. 1869 (Winter 1999), pp. 56–61.

Connor, Sister M. John Bosco, R.S.M. Gregorian Chant and Medieval Hymn Tunes in the Works of J.S. Bach. West Hartford CT: Department of Publications, Saint Joseph College, 1957.

Dirksen, Pieter. “J.S. Bach’s Violin Concerto in G minor.” Bach Perspectives Volume Seven: J.S. Bach’s Concerted Ensemble Music, The Concerto. Gregory Butler, editor. Urbana and Chicago: The University of Illinois Press, 2008, pp. 21–54.

Dolmetsch, Arnold. The Interpretation of the Music of the 17th and 18th Centuries as Revealed by Contemporary Evidence. Mineola NY: Dover Publications, Inc., 2005.

Liber Usualis. “Veni creator spiritus.” p. 885–886.

Palisca, Claude. Baroque Music, third edition. London: Pearson, 1990.

Thomas, Hugh. The Slave Trade: The History of the Atlantic Slave Trade 1440–1870. London: Papermac [Macmillan Publishers Ltd.], 1998.

Williams, Peter. J.S. Bach: A Life in Music. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

———. The Organ Music of J.S. Bach, second edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Wolff, Christian. “Sicilianos and Organ Recitals: Observations on J.S. Bach’s Concertos.” Bach Perspectives Volume Seven: J.S. Bach’s Concerted Ensemble Music, The Concerto. Gregory Butler, editor. Urbana and Chicago: The University of Illinois Press, 2008, pp. 97–114.

Last but by no means least, Grove Music Online, Oxford Music Online, Oxford University Press is a near-inexhaustible resource for music-related research, or the hardbound versions found in music libraries.

Booklet cover: Bowles’s New Pocket Map of the Atlantic or Western Ocean [1779] Carington Bowles (1697–1774).

Donna Coleman is an award-winning American-Australian concert and recording artist and devoted teacher whose documented research into twentieth century repertories, with a particular focus on the music of Charles Ives and his precursors in the Cultivated and Vernacular traditions, has earned praise from around the world. Among her prizes are the Solo Recitalist Fellowship from the United States Information Agency, Second Prize in the first International American Music Competition (John F Kennedy Center, Washington DC), three Rockefeller Foundation grants for touring in the USA, and a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award that funded her first residency in Australia in 1992. Tours featuring her eclectic repertory that encompasses JS Bach to Scott Joplin and to compositions written yesterday have taken her to thirty of the United States of America, and to Canada, Europe, and Australia for concerts and for master classes and workshops featuring her Dancing with the Piano philosophy of whole-person music making. Her new venture, The Charles Ives Trio, is dedicated to performing and recording the chamber music of the greatest American composer, his contemporaries, and the predecessors that inspired him.

Other Recordings by Donna Coleman

Don’t Touch Me: the thirty-seven solo piano Danzas Cubanas by Ignacio Cervantes [OutBach® CN001]
Charles Ives: Concord Sonata, Four Transcriptions from Emerson, Three-Page Sonata [KTC 1079] Diapason d’Or, Editor’s Choice [Diapason magazine]
Charles Ives: Piano Sonata No 1, Studies, Varied Air and Variations [KTC 1147]
Rags to Riches: A Syncopated Century [ABC Classics]
Havana to Harlem [ABC Classics]
ABC Classic 100 [ABC Classics]
Daniel Perlongo: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (1992 for Donna Coleman), with Radio
Orchestra of Bratislava, Robert Black, conductor [Master Musicians’ Collective]
John Anthony Lennon: Death Angel (1980 for Donna Coleman) [Capstone Records]

"Spirit, Passion, and the Right Hands"
“The formidable dimensions and the equally high technical and psychic demands experienced throughout the course of the “Concord” Sonata are not only overcome by the interpreter, rather, she far surpasses a mere ordering of the interrelated, stylistically colorful material and uses her manual and didactic possibilities for a strongly moved, impulsive interpretation. Donna Coleman takes the aura of inaccessibility from what is in the truest sense of the word an unwieldy, complex composition. A work for both specialists and aficionados becomes unexpectedly familiar, without having its edges or its stylistic autonomy appear tempered.”
Peter Cossé, Fono Forum (Berlin, 1990)

“This Second Pianoforte Sonata . . . finds here [Et’Cetera KTC 1079] its most convincing recorded version, due to its assertion, the assurance in its manner of effectively carrying out each detail, its analytical finesse.”
Christian Tarting, Diapason (Paris, February 1990)
awarded the Diapason d’Or and Editor’s Choice

"Donna Coleman's performance of Ives's First Sonata [Et’Cetera KTC 1147] is grand and sweeping, strong and confident, filled with charm and overflowing with joy. It immediately becomes my preferred version."
James H. North, Fanfare Magazine (USA, 1993)

“Donna Coleman’s recording of Ignacio Cervantes’s Danzas Cubanas [OutBach® CN001] is a beautiful recording event. . . . Everything here is a rare musical success, thanks to the serene majesty of the interpretation, the tone color, the presentation, and the interest and curiosity that these compositions arouse.”
Jean-Marc Warszawski, www.musicologie.org (online, 3rd January 2011)
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