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RECORD KEEPING | Jane Coop Handles Prokofiev With Ease In Re-Issue With The Calgary Phil

By Paul E. Robinson on January 11, 2018

Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 1. Bartók: Piano Concerto No. 3. Forsyth: Piano Concerto. Jane Coop, piano. Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra/Mario Bernardi. Skylark Music Sky1703. Total Time: 67:01.
Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 1. Bartók: Piano Concerto No. 3. Forsyth: Piano Concerto. Jane Coop, piano. Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra/Mario Bernardi. Skylark Music Sky1703. Total Time: 67:01.

Jane Coop, who was born in New Brunswick, grew up in Calgary, and studied with Anton Kuerti in Toronto, has enjoyed a long and successful career as one of Canada’s leading performers. She taught at the University of British Columbia for 32 years (1980-2012) and received the Order of Canada in 2012. Given the diminished state of the classical recording business today, even the most distinguished artists have a tough time putting out concerto recordings. Coop has done the next best thing in re-issuing some of her recordings from the 1980s, originally produced by the now-defunct CBC Records.

The late Mario Bernardi ( 1930-2013) and Jane Coop often worked together, and their collaboration invariably produced excellent results. At a mere 16 minutes, Prokofiev’s unusually short Piano Concerto No. 1, although lacking the melodic interest and consistency of his later works in this genre is, nonetheless, a formidable challenge for any pianist, a challenge well met in this recording by Coop with her impressive technical skills.

Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 3, a far superior piece, is given a deeply expressive and powerfully forceful performance on this CD by Coop and Bernardi.

South African born composer Malcolm Forsyth (1936-2011) came to Edmonton in 1968 to take up a teaching job at the University of Alberta. He made Edmonton his home for the rest of his life and became one of Canada’s leading composers. The Piano Concerto on this recording, an early work strongly influenced by African drumming, shows an impressive mastery of variation form. Comprised of an introduction and 16 variations, it is 26 minutes long. Although the drumming can seem pretty rudimentary in repeated hearings, Forsyth masterfully teased out an interesting set of variations. A strong piece, it deserves to be performed more often. Once again, Coop and Bernardi show an impressive understanding of the work and the Calgary Philharmonic plays with precision and polish.

Skylark Music has also reissued a second CD of works for piano and orchestra under the title “English Piano Concerti” (Sky1702), which consists of more collaborations between Coop, Bernardi and the Calgary Philharmonic. Originally issued by CBC Records, this CD includes works by Britten, Rawsthorne, Ireland and Finzi. For more on Jane Coop visit her website at www.janecoop.com.

Prokofiev / Bartok / Forsyth: Piano Concertos is available from Amazon and iTunes.

LUDWIG VAN TORONTO

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Paul E. Robinson

Paul E. Robinson

Over the course of his career, Paul Evans Robinson has acquired a formidable reputation as a broadcaster, author, conductor, and teacher. He has communicated the joy of music to more than a generation of musicians and music lovers in Canada and elsewhere.
Paul E. Robinson
Paul E. Robinson

Paul E. Robinson

Over the course of his career, Paul Evans Robinson has acquired a formidable reputation as a broadcaster, author, conductor, and teacher. He has communicated the joy of music to more than a generation of musicians and music lovers in Canada and elsewhere.
Paul E. Robinson
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