Author Topic: Alan Hovhaness Where to begin?  (Read 24998 times)

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Offline Thom

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Re: Alan Hovhaness Where to begin?
« Reply #20 on: July 06, 2007, 02:06:06 AM »
There's some Hovhaness I like very well;  but I cannot help feeling that "the American Sibelius" is seriously overselling him.

I feel exactly the same.

Stay away from this record:



It's terrible. I think it is his wife who is singing there, but she simply can't sing.

I like his Prayer of St. Gregory:


Offline vandermolen

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Re: Alan Hovhaness Where to begin?
« Reply #21 on: July 06, 2007, 09:25:44 AM »
I feel exactly the same.

Stay away from this record:



It's terrible. I think it is his wife who is singing there, but she simply can't sing.

I like his Prayer of St. Gregory:



The CD with Odysseus Symphony is one of the best Hovhaness CDs
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

S709

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Re: Alan Hovhaness — Where to begin?
« Reply #22 on: July 07, 2007, 10:46:38 AM »
My favorite Hovhaness is a disc by the Shangai Quartet:



This includes such haunting works as the "Ancient Tree" quartet, as well as the miniature Bagatelles for string quartet. I love this music but there is a chance some might call it 'new-age-ish'.


Offline scottscheule

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Re: Alan Hovhaness Where to begin?
« Reply #23 on: July 07, 2007, 12:11:25 PM »
I feel exactly the same.

Stay away from this record:



It is his wife singing on that record, and I agree she's terrible.  However, the Symphony No.31, on the same disk, is charming.

Offline Thom

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Re: Alan Hovhaness Where to begin?
« Reply #24 on: July 07, 2007, 11:44:15 PM »
...... However, the Symphony No.31, on the same disk, is charming.

Agreed.

Offline The new erato

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Re: Alan Hovhaness Where to begin?
« Reply #25 on: July 08, 2007, 01:53:10 AM »
I have never heard Hovhaness being called "the American Sibelius" - but I have met the term being used about Howard Hansson on several occasions  (in several booklets of recordings of his music for example), and since Hansson is of Scandinavian descent, surely more appropriately. Be that as it may, I find Hansson a seriousy more interesting composer than Hovhaness anyway.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Alan Hovhaness Where to begin?
« Reply #26 on: July 08, 2007, 02:52:12 AM »
I have never heard Hovhaness being called "the American Sibelius" - but I have met the term being used about Howard Hansson on several occasions  (in several booklets of recordings of his music for example), and since Hansson is of Scandinavian descent, surely more appropriately. Be that as it may, I find Hansson a seriousy more interesting composer than Hovhaness anyway.

Yes, I agree that Hanson is a greater composer than Hovhaness, especially symphonies 1-4 and the Bold Island Suite. His music has greater integrity and more depth.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline The new erato

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Re: Alan Hovhaness Where to begin?
« Reply #27 on: July 08, 2007, 04:32:50 AM »
Yes, I agree that Hanson is a greater composer than Hovhaness, especially symphonies 1-4 and the Bold Island Suite. His music has greater integrity and more depth.
Soory - one s in Hanson. Don't know the Bold Island Suite. Seem to remember there was a Naxos box of all the symphonies (based on Delos rereleases), but don't see it listed anymore. Strange.

Kullervo

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Re: Alan Hovhaness Where to begin?
« Reply #28 on: July 08, 2007, 05:48:09 AM »
Yes, I agree that Hanson is a greater composer than Hovhaness, especially symphonies 1-4 and the Bold Island Suite. His music has greater integrity and more depth.

Duly noted. I shall delve further.  :D

Offline 71 dB

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Re: Alan Hovhaness — Where to begin?
« Reply #29 on: July 08, 2007, 07:22:41 AM »
I have never heard Hovhaness being called "the American Sibelius" - but I have met the term being used about Howard Hansson on several occasions  (in several booklets of recordings of his music for example), and since Hansson is of Scandinavian descent, surely more appropriately. Be that as it may, I find Hansson a seriousy more interesting composer than Hovhaness anyway.

Hanson who? Never heard of him.
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Offline Lethevich

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Re: Alan Hovhaness Where to begin?
« Reply #30 on: July 08, 2007, 07:34:03 AM »
Hanson who? Never heard of him.

Howard Hanson, one of America's best symphonists (although that implies a small group, but there must be about 10 or so deserving of inclusion).

Edit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Hanson
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Offline The new erato

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Re: Alan Hovhaness Where to begin?
« Reply #31 on: July 08, 2007, 07:50:34 AM »
Mennin, Harris, Schuman, Ives, Piston, Diamond, Hanson, Copland, and then who (to fill up the ten)?. No way I have heard ALL their symphonies, but a majority I think, and I enjoy them a lot (even though some of their cycles have their ups and downs). A personal favorite is Piston, also for his concertoes and chamber works, we NEED the complete quartets.

Offline scottscheule

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Re: Alan Hovhaness Where to begin?
« Reply #32 on: July 08, 2007, 07:55:34 AM »
If we're looking for ten, throw in Barber.  We might even tap Glass if we feel desperate.

Offline The new erato

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Re: Alan Hovhaness Where to begin?
« Reply #33 on: July 08, 2007, 08:00:51 AM »
If we're looking for ten, throw in Barber.  We might even tap Glass if we feel desperate.
Even though he wrote only two, Barber it is, how could I forget.

But I'm not desperate enough to include Glass. Persichetti maybe?

Offline Lethevich

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Re: Alan Hovhaness Where to begin?
« Reply #34 on: July 08, 2007, 08:20:21 AM »
I agree that Glass's symphonies are decidedly second-tier... The reason I mentioned the large group (the 10 was randomly picked out of the air) was that compared to a country such as England, where there are tons of symphonists but two can just peek their heads above the pack in terms of popularity/"greatness" (annoying word) - Vaughan Williams and Elgar, there doesn't seem to be such dominating figures in the US. I suppose Ives could be the big one, but I don't think his great popularity on this site is quite as representitive as it is everywhere else.

So indeed, there's a big group of the leading symphonists including Barber, Diamond, Hanson, Copland, Piston, Ives, Schuman and Harris.
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Kullervo

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Re: Alan Hovhaness Where to begin?
« Reply #35 on: July 08, 2007, 01:13:12 PM »
I suppose Ives could be the big one, but I don't think his great popularity on this site is quite as representative as it is everywhere else.

Believe it or not, Ives is much more well-known than Hanson or Diamond. At least, from my experience.


Offline Thom

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Re: Alan Hovhaness Where to begin?
« Reply #36 on: July 08, 2007, 10:14:57 PM »
Believe it or not, Ives is much more well-known than Hanson or Diamond. At least, from my experience.

If that is the case, I can't say but probably you are right. Since this thread is about Hovhaness, I rate Ives, Hanson and Diamond much higher than Hovhaness. He wrote over 60 symphonies and a score of other works. I doubt wether it is possible at all to maintain a reasonable quality level with numbers like that. I do not say that he is a bad composer, but no more than second rate if at all.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Alan Hovhaness Where to begin?
« Reply #37 on: July 11, 2007, 12:44:46 AM »
Soory - one s in Hanson. Don't know the Bold Island Suite. Seem to remember there was a Naxos box of all the symphonies (based on Delos rereleases), but don't see it listed anymore. Strange.

Here's a fine Hanson CD with "Bold Island" on:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hanson-Symphony-No-2-Howard/dp/B000AQKUDQ/ref=sr_1_9/202-9539072-0883040?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1184143260&sr=1-9

Yesterday I listened to the Crystal CD shown above including Hovhaness Odysseus and Celestial Gate symphonies. I think it is one of the best Hovhaness CDs I know and a great introduction to an interesting composer.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline jurajjak

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Re: Alan Hovhaness Where to begin?
« Reply #38 on: July 17, 2007, 04:48:53 PM »
I am surprised that no one had mentioned Hovhaness' Symphony #19 (or Vishnu Symphony)...it's one of his key works, and one which he considered among his best.  I love Hovhaness, but will admit some of his work is repetitious, with a sense of deja vu. The Symphony #19, however, is strong, original stuff, and delivers a wild, cosmic ride.   

karlhenning

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Re: Alan Hovhaness Where to begin?
« Reply #39 on: July 17, 2007, 04:50:10 PM »
Thanks for the recommendation, jurajjak; that piece was simply unknown to me.

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