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Album Review: Irina Moreland Live
Irina Moreland
Cover image of the album Irina Moreland Live by Irina Moreland
Irina Moreland Live
Irina Moreland
2018 / IM Productions
56 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Irina Moreland Live is a collection of favorite live duet performances by classical pianist and educator Irina Moreland. The three pieces are the two-movement Beethoven Sonata for Piano and Cello in G Minor, Op. 5 #2 with cellist Maori Dorman; the three-movement Brahms Clarinet Sonata #2 in E-flat Major with Igor Schakhman; and George Walker's Sonata No. 2 for Violin and Piano with Gregory Walker. The pieces are all quite different from each other, demonstrating Irina Moreland's versatility as a pianist and artist as well as her mastery of her instrument.

Irina Moreland Live begins with the Beethoven Sonata for Piano and Cello in G Minor. I have always loved the combination of piano and cello - the smooth, deep and resonant sound of the cello contrasts so beautifully with the brighter and more percussive piano. Beethoven composed this sonata in 1796 at the same time he composed his Sonata in F major, and both were dedicated to Friedrich Wilhelm II, the King of Prussia. A wide range of emotions and musical colors are expressed in the first movement while the second movement is much livelier and more light-hearted - both are a wonderful celebration of the joy of making music!

The Brahms Clarinet Sonata #2 in E-flat Major was composed in 1891, shortly after Brahms told a friend that he was content to never compose again. In March 1891, Brahms traveled to Meiningen to hear a concert by its court orchestra. After the concert, he met its principal clarinetist, Richard Mühlfeld, whose playing and musicianship impressed Brahms so much that he wrote four new works over the next few years that featured the clarinet - including the two sonatas (Op. 120). This one features beautiful melodic lines for both instruments that weave together to form a rich tapestry of sound and expression.

The third sonata is George Walker's Sonata #2 for Violin and Piano and features Walker's son, Gregory Walker, on violin. A professor at the University of Colorado Denver, Gregory Walker is an accomplished composer, violinist and guitarist. His father was a Pulitzer prize-winning composer and the first black American to win the Pulitzer for music (1996). Sonata #2 for Violin and Piano was commissioned by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and was completed in 1979. Much more of a "modern" (literally and descriptively) classical work than the Beethoven or Brahms (for very obvious reasons!), the virtuosity of both artists is amazing. Edgy and often rather chaotic, it's a fascinating piece of music and I look forward to exploring more of George Walker's work!

Irina Moreland Live is beyond impressive and is available from Amazon, Apple Music/iTunes and various streaming sites including Spotify.

Irina Moreland was born in Central Asia and attended the St. Petersburg Specialized College of Music for Gifted Children. She earned her Master of Musical Arts with Honorary Diploma and her Doctor of Musical Arts from St. Petersburg State Conservatory and did post-graduate studies at Moscow State University. She received a second Doctor of Musical Arts in 2002 from the College of Music at University of Colorado in Boulder. Dr. Moreland has held the positions of Assistant Professor for the Keyboard Faculty at St. Petersburg State Conservatory; Adjunct Professor for the Colorado School of Mines Choral Department; and, Graduate Assistant and Accompanist at University of Colorado, Boulder. Since 2005, she has taught as an Affiliate Faculty at Colorado Christian University and, since 2007, as an Instructor for the University of Colorado Denver teaching Music Appreciation, Music History and group piano classes. She has performed in concert all over the world.
September 23, 2022
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