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Massachusetts-born Harold Shapero (1920-2013) was a pupil of Slonimsky, Krenek and Piston and took his inspiration ultimately from Beethoven. This 37-minute Sonata of 1948 was booed at its premiere (and not performed again until 2013), listeners being unable to discern its motivation beneath a thick surface of rhythms, key-relationships and extreme-register passage-work all too obviously derived from its declared model, the ‘Appassionata’. Thanks to Toccata Classics, we can now make more leisurely judgments. Both here and in the C minor Variations of 1947 (both first recordings), the idiom is rugged, the scale substantial and the initial effect powerful. Sally Pinkas’s admirable and close-miked performances are suitably robust. She is joined by Evan Hirsch for the Four-Hand Sonata, which recalls Copland and Poulenc.

MICHAEL ROUND Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Piano International, 2014 - ©Rhinegold Publishing