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“…  in the Madeleines, we hear the excellence of the piano recording, rich and full, with a clear top, enabling each and every textural elucidation of Graff’s to shine forth.  …   The final piece is the twelve-movement Astro Dogs (“Twelve Zodiacal Pieces,” 2019).  …  Dogs are assigned according to three methods: esoteric astrology, traditional (sun sign) astrology and finally the composer’s own impressions of canine character traits. Perhaps that is why “Bichon Frise” ends up as a sort of unpredictable scherzo, a dog known for its unpredictability; a terrific performance by Graff here. There is fun aplenty too: “Standard Poodle (Libra)” is frisky and playful (the music reminded me of Ibert). But memories can influence portrayals: The “Boston Bull Terrier (Virgo)” is shot through with nostalgia and is therefore gentler than one might expect for that animal type. I do love the idea of “Werewolf (Capricorn)”. Saturn rules Capricorn, the horned goat (which has associations with Baphomet/the Devil); Carbon’s response is deeply melancholic, in contrast to the finale, “Irish Wolfhound (Aries),” which proves that dissonance can be jolly when it wants to be.  A Steinway Artist, Steven Graff is the perfect exponent of this impressive music. …  Carbon’s way is individual and entirely convincing; there is a sense that at all times he is true to himself in his music, and it is that which really speaks to the listener.”

Colin Clarke, Fanfare

“… There is a wistful improvisatory, almost Chopinesque feel to the opening ‘Mémoire triste dans un café’, and a darker, more funereal nostalgia in ‘François et ses yeux dangereux’, … The final piece, ‘Madeleine déteste les devoirs’, on the other hand, has a driving rhythm, with disobediently boisterous hints at children’s songs. The three Impromptus, … are dreamy and again nostalgia features highly, particularly in the wandering second. The third however is much livelier …  Astro Dogs … are great little character pieces, from the quirky, even eastern-inflected melody of ‘Beagle (Aquarius)’, and the humorous rhythmically uneven ‘goofy gait’ of the ‘Labrador Retriever (Sagittarius)’, to the cartoonishly playful ‘Irish Wolfhound (Aries)’, with its energetic variations on ‘The Irish Washerwoman’ melody. ‘Saint Bernard (Leo) is slow and rhapsodic, whilst hints of Prokofiev return in the prancing ‘Standard Poodle (Libra)’. … the characters of the dogs are cleverly portrayed here, and Graff brings this out with great variety of articulation and expression. A great discovery – and always a good sign when a recording of a ‘new’ composer makes me want to seek out more of their music.

Nick Boston, Classical Notes

“…  Madeleines, a set of five pieces, was inspired by the composer’s (long ago) trip to France, and the title is an allusion to Proust, of course. Astro Dogs “casually” aligns the 12 signs of the zodiac with different dog breeds; …  Carbon is an example of a composer whose music sets an excellent example for his students, and yet it is not textbook dull or under-inspired. … these are attractive works—enjoyable to hear … Carbon uses more progressive writing as a means to an end, not as an end in itself.  …. All of this music is emotional and communicative. …  Carbon gets results.       So does pianist Steven Graff …  He plays this music with clarity and expressiveness, and paints it with a colorful palette.”

Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare