[Gordon Getty’s] PentaTone SACD release will be of value to those who appreciate terse, melodic, and simplistic piano music that at times evinces a subtle sophistication. The 23 tracks on the CD, half of which last less than two minutes each, consist of three suites and four individual numbers. The Ancestor Suite is the longest set on the release at 10 tracks…. The dances of the suite are far lighter entertainment than the tone of the Poe…. Chords are uncommon; linearity is emphasized in a predominate two-part harmonic texture. Some numbers display a child-like naiveté; others move briefly into more mysterious realms. My favorite of the bunch is ‘Waltz of the Ancestors’… The Three Traditional Pieces are the most attractive numbers on the CD. ‘The Fiddler of Ballykeel’ features a melody with a nice Scotch twang. While the title of ‘Tiefer und Tiefer’ (deeper and deeper) doesn’t make sense to me, in the absence of a booklet explanation, it is a pleasant waltz. Unlike most of the other music on the CD, ‘Ehemals,’ (German for ‘formerly’ — why?) offers a few technical challenges for the pianist, has a more complex form, and toys with a paraphrase from the third movement of Beethoven’s “Emperor” concerto. Two of the four individual pieces are light and brief, one referencing a phrase from the ‘Irish Washerwoman’ jig. The last two, Andantino and Scherzo Pensieroso, are the most recently composed. Contrary to Getty’s assertion that they ‘might easily’ have been composed in 1962, the year of the CD’s Homework Suite, a collection of pieces written when he was a San Francisco Conservatory student, they display far more melodic and harmonic variety, and a more malleable rendering of materials. Whether he admits it or not, Getty has matured over the years, and for the better.
San Francisco Classical Voice, May 2013