American pianist Christopher O'Riley has made some fine records in the past—such as his 1994 Stravinksy set on Nonesuch, which included an inventive solo arrangement of Histoire du Soldat&#x201

American pianist Christopher O'Riley has made some fine records in the past—such as his 1994 Stravinksy set on Nonesuch, which included an inventive solo arrangement of Histoire du Soldat—but, unfortunately, we haven't had many opportunities lately to enjoy his playing on disc. That's why this special collection of short pieces is so welcome. O'Riley is host of the Public Radio International program From the Top, which showcases performances by young American classical musicians. The interludes on this disc are those that O'Riley himself has often played "at the break" of the show. Heavy not only on Rachmaninoff but Rameau (which is wonderful to hear on piano rather than the usual harpsichord), At the Break also ranges far and wide to include among its 29 tracks Milhaud's Brazilian-spiced Corcovado, O'Riley's transcription of an aria from Delibes' Lakme, and Vince Guaraldi's holiday chestnut "Christmastime Is Here." An uncommonly intelligent performer, O'Riley also plays with an alluring tone and real rhythmic energy (captured well by producer/engineer Da-Hong Seetoo); the pianist also provides his own charming liner notes. Let's hope there are sequels to this. Available via Public Radio Music Resource, or see fromthetop.org.—BB

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