In 1999, Philip Mead re-energised ideas about the Concord Sonata with an off-the-leash recording that leaves the thrills multiplying. The booming roar of his playing gets slightly compromised by an inadequate recording rig but this beast can’t be tamed. Pow!
The opening passage mines the coalface of Ives’s textures, Mead needing you to hear all the interconnections of material. Bash!
‘Hawthorne’ is forcibly removed from anything to do with Debussy, Mead needing you to understand the cumulative impact of Ives flitting between helter-skelter arpeggios and the grounding of ragtime and marching-band gestures. And then rest. ‘The Alcotts’ is kindly without descending towards sentiment.
Philip Mead’s performance is loud, rude and jammed with idiosyncratic corners. Charles Ives would have been hugely appreciative and admiring.
VOTED GRAMOPHONE’S TOP CHOICE RECORDINGOF THE CONCORD SONATA