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CD REVIEW: Beverly Serra-Brooks - From The Musical Tree
By Ben Ohmart - 05/21/2007 - 10:34 AM EDT

Artist: Beverly Serra-Brooks
Genre: Classical
CD Review:
Beverly Serra-Brooks is a name many will recognize if you know your Artists International Competition winners, or listen to NPR’s Performance Today, or remember the date of Jan. 11, 1998 when Beverly gave her NY recital debut at Carnegie Hall. Not satisfied with just those credits, this virtuoso pianist has also had the gall to win awards from the Harpo Marx, James Irvine, and Pillsbury music foundations. Her list of Other credits are too numerous to mention, and you’re screaming for the music anyway.

You should. It’s impassioned, rolling and grand, from the first strains of Bach’s ‘Chromatic Fantasie & Fuge’ through the lovely ‘Images’ that Debussy paints and which Ms. Serra-Brooks spreads onto the canvas with agile fingers and darting nuances.

My personal favorite is Beethoven’s 22 minute ‘Sonata op. 57’, given with forthright clarity and sparks of damnation & dove-eyed susceptibility. She rolls the ‘Allegro assai’ in its moments of clamor and passion like an ice skating lion, and it’s a joy to behold. Even those without a Beethoven soul will appreciate every underlined turn and shift in mood. Beautifully accomplished.

The only reservation I would have about this particular recording is the recording. Often, especially in the opening 2 tracks, I feel as if I'm sitting in the back row. Whether these were live recordings or not (could be), it's hard to tell, despite no audience. I guess I just wish the microphone were seated more prominently on certain cuts. Other than that, I have been wholly satisfied for an evening.

For all her power and classical choices, Beverly has created a surprisingly intimate feeling/sounding hour’s long cd that gives the gift of a small-seeming gathering. A chance to watch the mistress performing to the best of her abilities, up close, shining the room with unfaltering tickle.

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