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Reviews: Prestidigitations -- by Judith Lang Zaimont


“[Bubble-Up Rag is] probably the best new piece for flute and piano that I've heard in a long time...[Reflective Rag] is wistful, lyrical - a beautiful remembrance of ragtime that moves me...[Zaimont and Kosloff's performance of the Snazzy Sonata] is extraordinary for its verve and ensemble...”
-- AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE ~ November / December 2007

[Zaimont's] rags...are inventive, strongly lyrical, and have an easy charm. Zaimont creates a variety of moods, from the relaxed Lazy Beguine to the kinetic Bubble-Up Rag, but more often than not, the pieces tend to be more introspective and slower-paced than classic rags. Serenade...is especially lovely — lyrical, melancholy, with elegiac harmonies. Zaimont's ease with the idiom makes her performances the highlights of the album, as well as that of her duet with her sister, Doris L. Kosloff, in Snazzy Sonata. The album should be of interest to fans of ragtime, and of the new works generated by the ragtime revival.”
-- ALL MUSIC GUIDE ~ September 2007

Webster tells us that prestidigitation refers to legerdemain, sleight of hand or a display of skill or adroitness – an apt title for the musical and compositional prowess contained in this disc. On Bubble-Up Rag, a catchy theme opens and closes this lengthy opus with much exploring in between. Reflective Rag is infused with contemporary classical harmonic ideas, yet it never lets go of its ragtime roots. It is quite interesting to hear it played first by the composer as a piano solo, then by the American Ragtime Ensemble under the baton of violinist David Reffkin, and finally as a flute and piano duet, each track standing solidly on its own...Judy’s Rag is a great musical romp, taking ragtime patterns through a variety of tempos. The Ensemble’s version of Lazy Beguine (heard later in a four-handed piano cut) is hauntingly beautiful; Hesitation Rag opens with a cakewalk pattern and quickly moves into lush, romantic chording. Snazzy Sonata is a four-part work for two pianists on one piano. Its Moderate Two-Step is sprightly and infectious, the Bebop Scherzo is frenetic and technically challenging and the Grand Valse Brilliante is stately with a rapidly fluid undercurrent. Serenade, an introspective tone poem, brings the recording to a satisfying conclusion...
The recorded sound is perfect, the liner notes are excellent and the selection of artists is outstanding. I especially liked Moderate Two-Step and also the final version of Reflective Rag, where its cakewalk rhythm pattern sings out on the clear voice of the flute.
Judith Lang Zaimont has taken contemporary classical music and made it very approachable through the medium of ragtime.”

-- Jack Rummel, RAGTIMERS.ORG ~ June 2007

“Judging from the music on this recording, Zaimont has not only brought the great rag music we know from the past into the twenty-first century, but she has created new music that will have a definite appeal...[Judy's Rag] illustrates the pianistic prowess of [Zaimont]...[In Snazzy Sonata], Zaimont performs this with her sister, Doris Lang Kosloff, and both capture the spirit of the rag with toe-tapping rhythms and musical flavors...The disc is well presented, with authoritative notes and good processing. For me, this was a highly entertaining 57-plus minutes. It's a disc full of good music that will definitely put a an extra jump in your step!
-- Lance Hill, CLASSICAL MUSIC GUIDE ~ June 2007


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