Margery McDuffie Whatley


Fanfare Magazine, Review of Piano Gems by Peter Burwasser

PIANO GEMS • Margery McDuffie Whatley (pn) • ACA 20128 (56:48)
HAYDN Piano Sonata in C, Hob XVI/50. CHOPIN Berceuse. 3 Écossaises. MENDELSSOHN Fantasy in f♯, op. 28, “Sonate Écossaise.” GERSHWIN Fascinatin’ Rhythm. ‘S Wonderful. I Got Rhythm. POULENC 3 Novelettes. LISZT Au bord d’une source. RUBINSTEIN Valse-Caprice in E♭

Here is another pleasing collection of highly accessible and mostly well-known solo piano works from this delightful artist. Margery McDuffie Whatley certainly has her fans at Fanfare, having garnered enthusiastic reviews from Peter J. Rabinowitz, Jerry Dubins, Lynn René Bayley, and yours truly over the years. Not a lot of heavy lifting goes on here, but there is plenty of room for an easy to listen to a program played with charm and skill. The opening Haydn Sonata is presented crisply and with a requisite sense of humor. Whatley then segues smoothly into some light-hearted Chopin, which she gives us with a brightly lit sound and buoyant rhythm. The Mendelssohn Fantasy is the darkest-hued work on the program, and so acts as a kind of center of gravity, but the Gershwin transcriptions (which are not attributed to an arranger) quickly vault the energy back up again. Whatley plays them with great gusto. The Poulenc could work as a soundtrack to a French silent movie, and the program ends with sweet bon bons from Liszt and Rubinstein.

~ Peter Burwasser (from Fanfare Magazine, July/Aug 2019)