Joanne Pearce Martin
Yarlung Records 79580 (2008)


  • 01. Ballade No.1 in G Minor, Opus 23 (Chopin)
  • 02. – 04. Sonata No.12 in F Major, KV 332 (Mozart)
  • 05. China Gates (John Adams)
  • 06. For those Silenced – Adagio espressivo (Mark Carlson)
  • 07. Berceuse Opus 20, No.5 (Josef Hofmann)
  • 08. Distances (Meyer Kupferman)
  • 09. Lieder ohne Worte No.1 – Andante con moto – Op 19, No.1 (Mendelssohn)
  • 10. Spinnerlied Opus 67, No.4 (Mendelssohn)
  • 11. Prelude No.2, Opus 6 (Robert Muczynski)
  • 12. NIGHT SHIFT (Gernot Wolfgang)
  • 14. Nocturne in Db, Opus 27, No.2 (Chopin)


Joanne Pearce Martin piano


“Chopin’s G Minor Ballade is a superb example of the elevated sonorous music the composer created for his instrument…. The Ballade begins with one of the most compelling introductions possible: the hands, in single notes an octave apart, stride urgently from low bass to high treble for three measures, whisper provocatively for two bars, then, finally in chords, evoke the ultimate anticipation with a superbly placed dissonance that melts into the austerely lyric main theme…. The no-technical-holds-barred coda was to become the signature of all but one of Chopin’s four Ballades.

Joanne’s album takes us from the fiery brilliance of the coda of the G Minor Ballade to the pristine airiness of the opening of Mozart s Sonata, K 332. This magical transition feels like the pianist invites us into a warm haven after rescuing us from the thunder and lightning of a raging storm. Mozart offers a small storm of his own, however, in the course of the first part of the simple F Major main theme: he throws an unexpected D Minor thunderbolt…. Mozartean charm is fine, but Mozartean brilliance appeals to the inner firebrand, and Joanne revels in the movement’s exuberant virtuosic demands. Moving from 18th-century formal grace to 20th-century Minimalism… John Adams’ China Gates provides a refreshing transition…. China Gates provides five-and-a-half minutes of hypnotic relaxation.

In For Those Silenced, Mark Carlson ruminates in an improvisatory manner, with one foot in a kind of sophisticated jazz, the other in Impressionism. Josef Hofmann’s Berceuse takes Chopin as a guiding light…. Joanne’s extraordinary ability to capture the gentle essence of this lullaby might likely have won the praise of Hofmann himself. Meyer Kupferman’s… Distances, full of deliciously altered chords, alternates between moody and placid with but one tiny outburst. Distances leaves me wanting more….

Like all of Mendelssohn’s compositions for the keyboard, the Songs Without Words are wonderfully pianistic…. The first, with the greeting card title ‘Sweet Remembrance’ … has indeed aroused the faithful to prayerful song…. Joanne moves next to the whirlwind Spinning Song, which is in fact a scherzo. Robert Muczynski’s… Op. 6, No.2 contains a persuasive musical kernel that begins with a simple persistent bass that supports a figure in high treble that unfolds repeatedly with only slight variation. The piece’s brevity is somewhat disarming; remember that Chopin called his preludes little bits, proving that size is not important. Muczynski studied in Chicago with Alexander Tcherepnin. Like Hofmann, Muczynski concertizes actively as a pianist, playing the standard repertory as well as his own works.

Night Shift by Gernot Wolfgang is a small poignant tone poem for your imagination and for the piano…. Night Shift contains subtle rhythmic energy more common in jazz bars in the wee small hours, and it also hints at Wolfgang’s background as a composer of serious concert music. It begins with an improvisational motif that reappears somewhat disguised midway through the work, and then returns at the end. The many pauses during the course of this music pique the imagination and give added soul to a soulful piece…. The two [Chopin] Nocturnes on Joanne’s program occupy a special place in pianists’ hearts. The E-Flat, Op. 9, No.2 may be the most familiar to us, but that doesn’t detract from its simple attractiveness. The less familiar D-Flat Nocturne, Op. 27, No. 2 captures titular moonlight, and gripping tension which Chopin creates through harmonic means and the beauty of his gorgeous ornamentation. This one is a true gem.”

Orrin Howard,