It seems everyone is raving about Kirsten Johnson’s new recording, Arthur Foote: Complete Piano Music, and Gramophone has joined the chorus with a new review and interview in their January 2014 issue!
Gramophone: What attracted you to Arthur Foote?
Kirsten Johnson: I first encountered him when I was a student in the States — he’s well established as part of the Second New England School. Then, a couple of years ago, I’d finished recording a survey of hte piano music of Amy Beach — who was, like Foote, one of the ‘Boston Six’ — and was looking for a follow-on project. I couldn’t believe no one had recorded his complete piano music before. I wanted to find an American record label, because this repertoire has ramifications for the US scene, and so I approached Delos. Most of the pieces on this disc are world-premiere recordings.
Gramophone: What does this recording say about Foote?
Kirsten Johnson: It establishes him even more as a significant American composer. People may say a lot of it is pedagogical music but I would argue that it’s core repertoire that should be taken seriously.
“Foote has a worthy champion in Kirsten Johnson, whose lovely sound and exquisite phrasing allow her to quickly locate the lyrical heart of a melody and invest it with pure streams of color…Johnson is similarly at her best in the 17-minute ‘Five Poems after Omar Khayyam,’ Op 41, in the space of which she lets herself be seduced by rolling waves of chords alternating with light Brahmsian lyricism, occasionally leavened by some gentle, deep emotion at the music’s heart, and even touched briefly by an epigrammatic wit worthy of Satie. … The beautiful, slightly resonant recordings of Johnson on a Steinway ‘D’ were made at the Nimbus studios at Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, UK.” —Laurence Vittes, Gramophone