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The 5 Browns


01.   Rimsky-Korsakov: Flight of the Bumble Bee
02.   Bernstein: Scenes from West Side Story
03.   Dukas: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
04.  Ravel: La Valse (poème chorégraphique)
05.   Friedman: Tabatière à musique,
        Op. 33 No. 3
06.   Rachmaninoff: Moments musicaux,
        Op. 16 No. 4
07.  Rachmaninoff: Elégie from Morceaux de
        fantaisie, Op. 3
08.   Debussy: L’Isle joyeuse
09.   Prokofiev: Sonata No. 3 in A Minor,
        Op. 28
10.   Bowen: Toccata, Op. 155
11.   Grieg: In the Hall of the Mountain King,
        from Peer Gynt, Op. 23
Their story is truly one of the more unusual tales of classical music today. Pop music has produced world-famous examples of all-in-the-family groups (which typically gave way to one or two solo stars as the years passed). And of course there's the Trapp Family singers of The Sound of Music fame. But the sibling pianists known as the 5 Browns are in a category all their own. They've gotten mega-exposure from profiles on 60 Minutes, Oprah, and the like as the first example in the history of the esteemed Juilliard School of Music in which five members of the same family have won admission (scholarships at that!) and studied concurrently. But if this sounds like a P.T. Barnum publicity stunt, make no mistake: Desirae, Deondra, Gregory, Melody, and Ryan are the real thing--musicians of intense dedication and talent. Their debut CD offers different perspectives on this pianistic quintet. It's not surprising that the literature isn't exactly overflowing with arrangements for five pianos--so only 4 tracks here actually have all ten hands busy tickling the ivories (arrangements of "Flight of the Bumblebee," West Side Story scenes, The Sorcerer's Apprentice and music from Grieg’s Peer Gynt). The flip DVD side includes videos of their amazing in-sync dexterity for "Flight" and the Bernstein excerpts, plus a charming interview introducing the very down-to-earth Browns. They talk about how they took to the piano, one by one, at a very early age and also point out that they remain each other's best friends, which helps them weather the stresses of the competitive classical performing arts world. Other tracks involve several four-hands settings and some solos (my own favorite is Melody's beautiful rendition of Debussy’s gorgeous "L'Isle joyeuese"). We're sure to hear more from this amazingly talented family--whether as a group or as soloists. -- Amazon Editorial Review, Sarah Chin

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