Author Topic: Roy Harris (1898-1979)  (Read 46194 times)

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Offline cilgwyn

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Re: Roy Harris (1898-1979)
« Reply #300 on: May 25, 2018, 04:53:37 AM »
My recording of the Ormandy is certainly in mono. I usually put on the Kuchar as well,because I like to hear it in stereo,as well. His recording sounds pretty good to my ears. I just played the old Louisville recording of the Fifth and I did enjoy it. The slow movement,particularly. As when I was a youngster,getting the old RCA Lp out of the library,it seemed to conjure up the incidental music from old western movies; images of vast prairies,wagon's trundling and camp fires with comboys sitting around them!! I was thinking,eating baked beans,maybe?!! :o ;D I like some of the scoring in the final movement. I thought I detected a piano there (always a favourite!). I looked up the orchestration and sure enough!! And the whole symphony,not too long! :)
I've got Shostakovich's String Qt No 12 on now,to cheer me up!! ??? ;D

Online vandermolen

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Re: Roy Harris (1898-1979)
« Reply #301 on: May 25, 2018, 06:13:46 AM »
My recording of the Ormandy is certainly in mono. I usually put on the Kuchar as well,because I like to hear it in stereo,as well. His recording sounds pretty good to my ears. I just played the old Louisville recording of the Fifth and I did enjoy it. The slow movement,particularly. As when I was a youngster,getting the old RCA Lp out of the library,it seemed to conjure up the incidental music from old western movies; images of vast prairies,wagon's trundling and camp fires with comboys sitting around them!! I was thinking,eating baked beans,maybe?!! :o ;D I like some of the scoring in the final movement. I thought I detected a piano there (always a favourite!). I looked up the orchestration and sure enough!! And the whole symphony,not too long! :)
I've got Shostakovich's String Qt No 12 on now,to cheer me up!! ??? ;D
Yes, I'm sure that a Shostakovich SQ will perk you up for the weekend!
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline cilgwyn

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Re: Roy Harris (1898-1979)
« Reply #302 on: May 26, 2018, 02:06:28 AM »
I am so glad to hear about this recording! I first heard Harris in the 80's on the radio. It was the Clark recording of the Gettysburg. Living in LA at the time, PSO does get some occasional airing. I loved it. But I did not find any recording of the work after I graduated from school and went from a dirt poor student to a lowly paid worker. Maybe I can get this CD soon.

The 8th and 9th were indeed disappointing. But overall, I am still a Harris fan. I like the violin concerto better after the second listening. Not a great work, but certainly worth one's attention.
I just saw this old post! Yes,I remember hearing the Sixth on the radio and recording an off air cassette using my,less than hi-fi,radio cassette recorder with a telescopic aerial. Reception was always a bit dodgy where I lived. You just had to hope!! ::) ;D  It was quite a few years before I heard it again and bought the cd that came out. It stayed in my head,though;which is usually a good sign. It means it made an impression on me. And in a good way. Up till then,I only knew the Harris third,from the Bernstein Lp,with the statue and a flag,or something,wrapped around it (?) and the Fifth,from the old RCA Lp,which I used to borrow from one of the local libraries. Nowadays,you just surf and click on the purchase button!! I liked them allot,at the time. I actually didn't hear the Seventh until after I got the cd of the Sixth!

Offline kyjo

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Re: Roy Harris (1898-1979)
« Reply #303 on: May 26, 2018, 07:14:29 AM »
I like No.6 as well, especially in the Keith Clark/Pacific SO recording. I think that Diamond's Symphony 3 is one of the great American symphonies. I also like No.2 by Paul Creston very much. I quite like the Harris No.5 but prefer No.7, especially with Ormandy conducting - it's on a wonderful Albany CD with William Schuman's epic Symphony 6, which I consider a masterpiece.

Agreed with you Jeffrey re. the merits of Creston's 2nd and Schuman's 6th - two great recent discoveries of mine.
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Online vandermolen

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Re: Roy Harris (1898-1979)
« Reply #304 on: May 26, 2018, 10:21:58 AM »
Agreed with you Jeffrey re. the merits of Creston's 2nd and Schuman's 6th - two great recent discoveries of mine.
Delighted that you like these as well Kyle.
  :)
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Offline cilgwyn

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Re: Roy Harris (1898-1979)
« Reply #305 on: December 18, 2018, 10:23:39 AM »
I've been listening to Keith Clark's recording of Roy Harris' Symphony No 6,again,this afternoon. This is the kind of performance & recording a Harris symphony needs. Keith Clark and the Pacific Symphony Orchestra make this sound like the great American symphony this possibly is. I remember hearing this performance in a BBC Radio 3 broadcast,back in the mid 80's,and being rather excited by what I heard. I recorded the off air brodacast on my radio cassette recorder,and listened to it,until the tape got chewed up (by the machine,not me! ??? ;D). The Naxos recording came as a big disappointment. It sounded like a different work! I'm glad I didn't hear that performance first! I didn't think much of Alsop's,Fifth,either! Worse still,the brass didn't seem to come out. I remember that moment in "Conflict",where the horns let rip with this repeated,whooping sound (hard to describe). I remember when I played the work to my mother,her reaction to this moment. The effect is viscerally exciting,and quite startling (at least,the first time you hear it) in the Clark recording. In the Alsop recording the horns barely register. It reminds me,a bit,of that,huge drum thwack,in the second movement of Kabalevsky's Second Symphony,in the old Unicorn recording. I remember being quite p***** off when that,sonic highlight,seemed to be,entirely missing,from the,curiously red blood corpuscle free,Chandos recording! The symphony just didn't seem the same work without it!! >:( :( I only wish Keith Clark,and the Pacific SO,could have had a bash at my second favourite Harris symphony,No 7. Albany made some rather good recordings of Harris symphonies. I wish they could have recorded No's 5 & 7,as their recordings were all pretty good.

 I happen to think that the best approach,with Harris,is not to listen to too many in a row. Put on No 6 (Clark not Alsop) or 7,on it's own;and you might start feeling he's a great American symphonist;even if you normally don't. Put on a slew of them,and the,apparent,sameness of some of the textures and rhetoric might start to take it's toll;as can all that,tub thumping,patriotism. And boy,Harris is patriotic! ::) ;D Also,the fact that some of them just aren't as good! The Ninth,for example. It starts quite well,then seems to meander all over the place! It feels like a re-run  of one of the earlier efforts,without an ounce of the inspiration. I've tried in the past;but if I play the Kuchar cd of No 7 & 9,now,I just find myself pressing the off button as soon as the Seventh ends!! Still,a composer should be judged by his best work. I also quite like the Symphony 1933,in the Albany and Koussevitzky recording. And No 2,in the Albany recording,isn't bad;if you listen to it on it's own! My favourites remain No's 6,7 & 5. In that order! I,personally,think No's 6 & 7 are impressive symphonies. And No 5,in the old Louisville recording,has a nice "homespun" atmosphere,which I find appealing. It makes me think of vast prairies and cowboys sitting around campfires. Probably eating baked beans,straight outta the can!! (Yum!) Just don't listen to too many at a time! Maybe Harris cd's should have a warning on them?  "Do not exceed the recommended dosage: 1-2 Harris symphonies daily!" "Be Harris aware! Know your Harris limits! (And his!! ::) ;D).


Offline cilgwyn

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Re: Roy Harris (1898-1979)
« Reply #306 on: December 18, 2018, 11:11:42 AM »
I've often mulled over buying this cd,but finally took the plunge! To my surprise,I rather enjoyed the performance of Harris' Seventh here. It does lack the urgency of Ormandy,and it does seem a tad lesiurely alongside Kuchar;but it also didn't make me feel disappointed in the way that those Alsop recordings of Harris symphonies did. In fact,I rather liked the way Keelan handled the quieter,slower,bits,and the way he seems to temper some of the patriotism,which can be a bit much sometimes (if you're in the wrong mood). To me,Keelan's performance seems to emphasise some of that homely,pastoral side to Harris. You get more of the plains,the prairies,the campfires and cowboys and I like that! Unlike,Alsop,he does seem to have some understanding of Harris' idiom,and some sort of grip on the architecture of the symphony,which does keep my attention. Even if his approach is a tad lesiurely,in comparison to Kuchar (let alone Ormandy!) it's not a flabby mess! In short ;D, think he brings out a less rhetorical,gentler side of Harris which I quite like. Also,the sound quality is just great!! I loved hearing those bass lines in such terrific sound. Not a top choice. Ormandy then Kuchar. But I really did enjoy hearing this recording. And you get the William Schumann!! :) (More on that,in another post!) I also love the composition of that photo (the span of the bridge against the blue) on the cover!


Online vandermolen

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Re: Roy Harris (1898-1979)
« Reply #307 on: December 18, 2018, 02:11:03 PM »
I've often mulled over buying this cd,but finally took the plunge! To my surprise,I rather enjoyed the performance of Harris' Seventh here. It does lack the urgency of Ormandy,and it does seem a tad lesiurely alongside Kuchar;but it also didn't make me feel disappointed in the way that those Alsop recordings of Harris symphonies did. In fact,I rather liked the way Keelan handled the quieter,slower,bits,and the way he seems to temper some of the patriotism,which can be a bit much sometimes (if you're in the wrong mood). To me,Keelan's performance seems to emphasise some of that homely,pastoral side to Harris. You get more of the plains,the prairies,the campfires and cowboys and I like that! Unlike,Alsop,he does seem to have some understanding of Harris' idiom,and some sort of grip on the architecture of the symphony,which does keep my attention. Even if his approach is a tad lesiurely,in comparison to Kuchar (let alone Ormandy!) it's not a flabby mess! In short ;D, think he brings out a less rhetorical,gentler side of Harris which I quite like. Also,the sound quality is just great!! I loved hearing those bass lines in such terrific sound. Not a top choice. Ormandy then Kuchar. But I really did enjoy hearing this recording. And you get the William Schumann!! :) (More on that,in another post!) I also love the composition of that photo (the span of the bridge against the blue) on the cover!


I replied about the Keith Clark recording on the 'What are you listening to thread'. I like the above Koch CD more than many (it was generally poorly reviewed). Above all I like the combination of two of my very favourite American symphonies. The Schuman No.6 (described somewhere as a 'Requiem for the 20th Symphony') may not be as immediately approachable as Symphony 3 but it is in my view just as great. In this case Gerald Schwarz's Naxos recording of the 6th Symphony is much more recommendable than Alsop's disappointing Harris series. I also enjoyed the Harris 7th Symphony - a more reflective view than Ormandy. As with Neeme Jarvi's Chandos CD of Harris and Copland's Third symphonies I enjoyed this one more than the critics did.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2018, 03:09:32 PM by vandermolen »
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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Roy Harris (1898-1979)
« Reply #308 on: December 18, 2018, 02:25:40 PM »
I replied about the Keith Clark recording on the 'What are you listening to thread'. I like the above Koch CD more than many (it was generally poorly reviewed). Above all I like the combination of two of my very favourite American symphonies. The Schuman No.6 (described somewhere as a 'Requiem for the 20th Symphony') may not be as immediately approachable as Symphony 3 but it is in my view just as great. In this case Gerald Schwarz's Naxos recording of the 6th Symphony is much more recommendable than Alsop's disappointing Harris series. I also enjoyed the Harris 7th Symphony - a more reflective view than Ormandy. As with Neeme Jarvi's Chandod CD of Harris and Copland's Third symphonies I enjoyed this one more than the critics did.

I've been curious about that CD, but never got it. I'm totally happy with the Schwarz recording of the Schuman 6th (I like it better than the Ormandy, believe it or not). I also have an original LP of the Ormandy Harris 7th and am happy with that.

I've never seen any other recording with this conductor (Hugh Keelan). He's a bit of a mystery to me.
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Online vandermolen

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Re: Roy Harris (1898-1979)
« Reply #309 on: December 18, 2018, 03:12:43 PM »
I've been curious about that CD, but never got it. I'm totally happy with the Schwarz recording of the Schuman 6th (I like it better than the Ormandy, believe it or not). I also have an original LP of the Ormandy Harris 7th and am happy with that.

I've never seen any other recording with this conductor (Hugh Keelan). He's a bit of a mystery to me.

I also really like the Schwarz Schuman CD, not least for 'Prayer in Time of War' and the New England Triptych. Yes, I don't think that you need the Koch CD it's just that I enjoyed it more than expected. The NZSO are invariably worth hearing.
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Offline cilgwyn

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Re: Roy Harris (1898-1979)
« Reply #310 on: December 19, 2018, 06:08:56 AM »
I replied about the Keith Clark recording on the 'What are you listening to thread'. I like the above Koch CD more than many (it was generally poorly reviewed). Above all I like the combination of two of my very favourite American symphonies. The Schuman No.6 (described somewhere as a 'Requiem for the 20th Symphony') may not be as immediately approachable as Symphony 3 but it is in my view just as great. In this case Gerald Schwarz's Naxos recording of the 6th Symphony is much more recommendable than Alsop's disappointing Harris series. I also enjoyed the Harris 7th Symphony - a more reflective view than Ormandy. As with Neeme Jarvi's Chandos CD of Harris and Copland's Third symphonies I enjoyed this one more than the critics did.
I'm going to have to disagree with you here......just a bit!! ;D There are some good reviews of this cd on the internet! Classics Today (see below) and some customer reviews on Amazon,are very positive! I do quite like the Keelan's performance of the Harris,for the reasons I described in my earlier post. The sound quality is an added bonus. It seems richer,and more spacious,than the Kuchar recording. If there were more recordings of this symphony available,I'm sure there would be a better one. Still,I was pleasantly surprised! It's not brilliant,but it does have some things about which I do like! The Ormandy is in mono. I wish it had been in stereo. Increasing the bass,via the remote, helps improve the sound quality;and yes,it is easily the finest performance. I have listened to the Kuchar recording,multiple times now,over a period of time,and I think it's a pretty good account. Not a great,as per Ormandy, but pretty good. The fact that it is in stereo and DDD sound quality is an added bonus. On that basis,I wish he could have recorded the other Harris symphonies instead of Alsop! On the other hand,while Keelan's recording of Schumann's Sixth,may be satisfactory,but there are,obviously,superior alternatives to choose from. Putting them both on one cd was a great idea,though!
I wish to goodness Bernstein could have recorded Harris' Sixth or Seventh! Having this Keelan recording of the Seventh was useful in another way,though. It has enhanced my perception of this symphony. And that's not a bad thing!! :)

https://www.classicstoday.com/review/review-7090/

Online vandermolen

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Re: Roy Harris (1898-1979)
« Reply #311 on: December 19, 2018, 09:29:07 AM »
I'm going to have to disagree with you here......just a bit!! ;D There are some good reviews of this cd on the internet! Classics Today (see below) and some customer reviews on Amazon,are very positive! I do quite like the Keelan's performance of the Harris,for the reasons I described in my earlier post. The sound quality is an added bonus. It seems richer,and more spacious,than the Kuchar recording. If there were more recordings of this symphony available,I'm sure there would be a better one. Still,I was pleasantly surprised! It's not brilliant,but it does have some things about which I do like! The Ormandy is in mono. I wish it had been in stereo. Increasing the bass,via the remote, helps improve the sound quality;and yes,it is easily the finest performance. I have listened to the Kuchar recording,multiple times now,over a period of time,and I think it's a pretty good account. Not a great,as per Ormandy, but pretty good. The fact that it is in stereo and DDD sound quality is an added bonus. On that basis,I wish he could have recorded the other Harris symphonies instead of Alsop! On the other hand,while Keelan's recording of Schumann's Sixth,may be satisfactory,but there are,obviously,superior alternatives to choose from. Putting them both on one cd was a great idea,though!
I wish to goodness Bernstein could have recorded Harris' Sixth or Seventh! Having this Keelan recording of the Seventh was useful in another way,though. It has enhanced my perception of this symphony. And that's not a bad thing!! :)

https://www.classicstoday.com/review/review-7090/

Thanks. Good to read Victor Carr Jnr's positive review of the CD although I'm not sure that I agree with him about the 'undistinguished melodic material' in the slow movement of William Schuman's 6th Symphony. Yes, it's a great shame that Bernstin did not record Harris's 6th or 7th symphonies.
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