06_off_the_beaten_pathOff the Beaten Path
Ian Hominick
MSR Classics MS 1341 (www.ianhominick.com)

Even the most musically illiterate man on the street would undoubtedly be familiar with the names of Bach, Mozart, or Beethoven. But how about those other composers who perhaps lacked that creative spark of these geniuses, and who have been regarded as “lesser lights” ever since? Don’t they deserve at least some recognition as well? Pianist Ian Hominick certainly thinks so, and the result is this intriguing recording on the MSR Classics label, appropriately titled “Off the Beaten Track.” Featured here are 10 composers, most of whose music isn’t heard all that often. For an even balance, there is also music by Liszt, Sibelius, and Gershwin, resulting in a well thought-out program of piano music in different styles spanning a period of roughly 150 years. Canadian-born Hominick studied at Mt. Allison, and later, at Ohio State University where he was Assistant to Earl Wild and André Laplante. He is currently on faculty at the University of Mississippi.

The disc opens with a rousing little sonata by Muzio Clementi, containing a theme very close to one in found in Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Today, Clementi is remembered as a piano-maker and teacher, but this piece demonstrates not only his ability as a composer, but also Hominick’s level of technical prowess. More languorous is the Second Valse by Benjamin Godard, and the Nocturne by the 19th century piano titan Sigismund Thalberg. Fritz Kreisler? Wasn’t he a virtuoso violinist? Indeed, but included here is a charming Rondino on a Theme by Beethoven as transcribed by Godowsky. Most impressive is Die Lorelei by Franz Liszt, music that began as a vocal piece.

Hominick’s playing is bold and confident, displaying the dazzling technique required of this demanding repertoire. In complete contrast are the two closing selections, Gershwin’s Novelette in Fourths and Melody No.40. These have the Jazz Age written all over them, and bring this most enjoyable disc to a close.

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