Author Topic: Paul Creston (1906-1985)  (Read 3036 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

kyjo

  • Guest
Paul Creston (1906-1985)
« on: July 27, 2013, 11:47:08 AM »
I was rather surprised to find that there is no Creston thread here, so allow me to start one. I am a great admirer of Creston's music, which is an appealing blend of vigorous, rhythmic neo-classicism and warm, melodic neo-romanticism, with occasional borrowings from jazz. Creston never plumbed the depths with his music, but produced some delightful, bold, ecstatically melodic music that is never subject to clichés or triteness. It is, quite simply, feel-good music. He could be loosely grouped with composers such as Barber, Copland, Harris, Schuman, Diamond, Mennin, Piston, Giannini, Flagello and Menotti, but his music never copies any of these composers' styles.

Creston was quite prolific, but I haven't heard a work of his yet that has less than impressed me. A good deal of his music has been recorded, primarily by Naxos and Delos. As for his best works, I would consider the Symphonies 2-4, Violin Concerto no. 2, Toccata for orchestra, Chant of 1942 for orchestra, Choreographic Suite for small orchestra and Gregorian Chant for string orchestra prime candidates. It's virtually impossible for me to single out one or two best works. I've seen Creston criticized of having a limited compositional style, but I can't exactly see where those that have raised that criticism are coming from. To me, there is great contrast between, for example, the unbridled energy of the Toccata and Choreographic Suite, the mystical beauty of Symphony no. 3 and Gregorian Chant, and the noble power of Chant of 1942 and Symphony no. 2.

Though I am most grateful for the appearance  of much of Creston's music on disc in recent years, it is still worth mentioning what remains unrecorded. The most significant orchestral works that have not made it on CD yet include: Poem for Harp and Orchestra, Piano Concerto, Missa Solemnis, Violin Concerto no. 1 (which can be found on YouTube), Pavanne Variations, Chthonic Ode: Homage to Henry Moore (which can be found on YouTube), Sadhana for Cello and Orchestra, and, most importantly, Symphony no. 6 for Organ and Orchestra. I had hoped Naxos would have some of these works in the pipeline, but their once-strong American Classics series seems to be losing steam, unfortunately :(

Any other Creston fans?

 :)
« Last Edit: July 27, 2013, 11:48:55 AM by kyjo »

Online vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 17503
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: Paul Creston (1906-1985)
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2013, 11:06:22 PM »
Yes, me again ( 8).

 I especially like Symphony No 2, which I have on a Chandos CD with Neeme Jarvi conducting (I think). It has a wonderfully 'catchy' section in it which stays in the memory. I have a long car journey today, so I'll try to fish it out to play. Come to think of it I think that I have a Koch CD with a Polish orchestra and there is a Naxos recording too. The 'Three Mysteries' Symphony did not make quite such an impression on me but I still enjoyed it and will have another listen to it.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline lescamil

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 674
  • Location: Portland, OR
Re: Paul Creston (1906-1985)
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2013, 01:32:17 AM »
I'd love to hear the piano concerto in a modern recording. I once heard an old broadcast recording of Earl Wild playing it in the 1950s, and it was a nice mix of very pianistic flourishes, somewhat like Rachmaninoff, but with a more advanced harmonic language. Almost reminds me of the Romantisches Klavierkonzert by Joseph Marx, in terms of how downright dense the piano part is. I also heard the Symphony No. 6 once, but I have the same problem I have with the piano concerto, and, well, most of the other works I've heard by Creston. They're nice and enjoyable in the moment, but not a whole lot sticks around with me after I'm done with the recording. I've had more success with other American symphonists lumped in with Creston, such as Schuman, Persichetti, Mennin, and Piston. Still, I'd love to hear many of these unrecorded works. For now, I'll just have to dig up these old recordings again...
Want to chat about classical music on IRC? Go to:

irc.psigenix.net
#concerthall

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,19772.0.html

-------------------------------------

Check out my YouTube page:

http://www.youtube.com/user/jre58591

kyjo

  • Guest
Re: Paul Creston (1906-1985)
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2013, 07:01:43 AM »
Lescamil, you have really whetted my appetite to hear Creston's PC! If it reminds you of both Rachmaninov and Marx's Romantisches Klavierkonzert (one of my favorite PCs), but in a more advanced language, that sounds like it would be right up my alley!

I think maybe your problem with Creston is that he didn't exactly set out to change the world with his music. It doesn't have that dark, emotional power that you find in Schuman and Mennin's music. But, to me it has its own sort of quiet, understated power. In this regard Creston reminds me a bit of Ned Rorem (now "The Grand Old Man of American Music"), in that it does not take you on a wild rollercoaster ride of emotions, but rather exudes a fresh, melodic air. I truly hope that makes any sense; I am terrible at wording things ;D

kyjo

  • Guest
Re: Paul Creston (1906-1985)
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2013, 07:08:24 AM »
Yes, me again ( 8).

 I especially like Symphony No 2, which I have on a Chandos CD with Neeme Jarvi conducting (I think). It has a wonderfully 'catchy' section in it which stays in the memory. I have a long car journey today, so I'll try to fish it out to play. Come to think of it I think that I have a Koch CD with a Polish orchestra and there is a Naxos recording too. The 'Three Mysteries' Symphony did not make quite such an impression on me but I still enjoyed it and will have another listen to it.

Symphony no. 2 is one of Creston's most immediately appealing works-it just sweeps you away in its almost Bernstein-esque energy. In comparison to its predecessor, Symphony no. 3 The Three Mysteries may seem a little slow-going, but on its own it is a touchingly beautiful piece. I found myself reminded of Respighi's "ancient" music in parts due to the music's lush yet restrained antiquity.

Online k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 55649
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, D. Scarlattii, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Martinů, Haydn, Henning
Re: Paul Creston (1906-1985)
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2013, 07:09:32 AM »
This is from the concert we sang in March.  IIRC, Paul Cienniwa initially chose these because there was not yet any recording of them.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/lFU0Yl5yG8U" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/lFU0Yl5yG8U</a>

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/JUdOOhF8V1s" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/JUdOOhF8V1s</a>

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/g_APLjev3WQ" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/g_APLjev3WQ</a>

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/_j2K60horks" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/_j2K60horks</a>

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/bvX0EDWXi_g" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/bvX0EDWXi_g</a>
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline lescamil

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 674
  • Location: Portland, OR
Re: Paul Creston (1906-1985)
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2013, 09:55:30 AM »
Lescamil, you have really whetted my appetite to hear Creston's PC! If it reminds you of both Rachmaninov and Marx's Romantisches Klavierkonzert (one of my favorite PCs), but in a more advanced language, that sounds like it would be right up my alley!

I think maybe your problem with Creston is that he didn't exactly set out to change the world with his music. It doesn't have that dark, emotional power that you find in Schuman and Mennin's music. But, to me it has its own sort of quiet, understated power. In this regard Creston reminds me a bit of Ned Rorem (now "The Grand Old Man of American Music"), in that it does not take you on a wild rollercoaster ride of emotions, but rather exudes a fresh, melodic air. I truly hope that makes any sense; I am terrible at wording things ;D

You know, I was also reminded of Ned Rorem's early Piano Concerto No. 2, which was recently dug up by Naxos. I think they were written roughly around the same time. We can only hope Simon Mulligan or a comparable pianist takes up the Creston Piano Concerto on Naxos or a similar label.
Want to chat about classical music on IRC? Go to:

irc.psigenix.net
#concerthall

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,19772.0.html

-------------------------------------

Check out my YouTube page:

http://www.youtube.com/user/jre58591

Offline Rons_talking

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 454
  • Location: Upper British Colu
Re: Paul Creston (1906-1985)
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2013, 11:16:04 PM »
Thanks for starting a Creston thread. As much American music as I've heard, Creston was unfamiliar to me. I'm presently listing to the Naxos recording and as many of you have said, the music is very well wrought and has an exuberant quality. I like it.

kyjo

  • Guest
Re: Paul Creston (1906-1985)
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2013, 07:48:33 AM »
Thanks for starting a Creston thread. As much American music as I've heard, Creston was unfamiliar to me. I'm presently listing to the Naxos recording and as many of you have said, the music is very well wrought and has an exuberant quality. I like it.

My pleasure :) Pleased to hear you enjoy Creston's music! That exuberant quality you speak of is what really made me fall in love with his music.

Sean

  • Guest
Re: Paul Creston (1906-1985)
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2013, 06:35:39 PM »
I know the Second symphony and Saxophone concerto, characterized by open air American homophony with some Sibelian ice and clarity.

I'll be hearing the Toccata today.

Offline deprofundis

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 645
  • Location: montreal canada
  • Currently Listening to:
    classical, skronk-jazz, blues, experimental etc
Re: Paul Creston (1906-1985)
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2020, 11:30:25 AM »
I'm a fan of Paul Creston, I only have his 3 first symphony on NAXOS yet I  really dig it and will probably buy the fifth symphony once again on the same label.
Great American classical composer.

Offline Daverz

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 5761
  • You can't fool me, it's turtles all the way down!
Re: Paul Creston (1906-1985)
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2020, 12:17:26 PM »
Also a Creston fan, but his music is not recorded much.  I have the symphonies 1-4 on a mix Delos, Naxos and Albany CDs.  And the Järvi recording of Symphony No. 2 is wonderful.  I do seem to have missed Symphony No. 5.

Also found this searching on Qobuz:



https://open.qobuz.com/album/0191773889173

Online vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 17503
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: Paul Creston (1906-1985)
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2020, 11:58:38 PM »
Also a Creston fan, but his music is not recorded much.  I have the symphonies 1-4 on a mix Delos, Naxos and Albany CDs.  And the Järvi recording of Symphony No. 2 is wonderful.  I do seem to have missed Symphony No. 5.

Also found this searching on Qobuz:



https://open.qobuz.com/album/0191773889173
How interesting! I'm also a great admirer of Symphony No.2. Jarvi's version is my favourite but I also enjoy a CD featuring it on the Koch label (David Amos/Kraków PO) as well as the Naxos version:
« Last Edit: March 28, 2020, 12:01:16 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline kyjo

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2287
  • Kurt Atterberg (1887-1974)
  • Location: United States
Re: Paul Creston (1906-1985)
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2020, 01:20:32 PM »
The 2nd (particularly in the excellent Järvi recording on Chandos) and 3rd symphonies are firm favorites of mine. The ecstatically lyrical climax of the first movement of the bipartite 2nd Symphony is a truly rapturous moment. The 3rd is a really uplifting work with a main theme that sticks in the memory. I’m not familiar with most of his other works yet.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2020, 03:26:51 PM by kyjo »
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Online k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 55649
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, D. Scarlattii, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Martinů, Haydn, Henning
Re: Paul Creston (1906-1985)
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2020, 01:43:52 PM »
The 2nd (particularly in the excellent Järvi recording on Chandos) and 3rd symphonies are firm favorites of mine. The ecstatically lyrical climax of the first movement of the bipartite 2nd Symphony is a truly rapturous moment. The 3rd is a truly uplifting work with a main theme that sticks in the memory. I’m not familiar with most of his other works yet.

Thanks for reminding me, I need to check these out.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline arpeggio

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 718
  • Location: Burke, Virginia, USA
Re: Paul Creston (1906-1985)
« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2020, 05:40:02 PM »
As a band junkie I like Creston because he composed many fine band works.  I have performed his Celebration Overture many times. His other band works I have performed are: Legend, Zanoni and Prelude and Dance.  He composed some great saxophone parts.

I have also performed the band versions of his Marimba and Saxophone Concertos.

I like listening and performing his music.  I have many recordings in my library.  I have one problem with his music.  Many times they have abrupt endings.  It seems as if he is thinking, "OK, I have written enough notes.  Time to stop."  I have discussed this with the band director of one of the bands I play with and he feels the same way.  The ending of Celebration Overture is a good example of this.
 
Please, I am not saying he is a bad composer just because he may not always compose perfect endings.

Online vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 17503
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: Paul Creston (1906-1985)
« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2020, 10:30:23 PM »
I've recently realised how good Symphony No.3 'Three Mysteries' is, especially the slow movement (another great American 'third symphony'!) I agree with Kyle that symphonies 2 and 3 are firm favourites. I've recently ordered a second hand copy of the old Delos CD featuring Symphony No.5. I always find his music of interest.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 50641
  • Mieczysław Weinberg (1919 - 1996)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, Weinberg, Prokofiev, Myaskovsky, Glazunov, Rachmaninov, Rimsky-Korsakov, Shchedrin, Kabalevsky, Schnittke, Korngold, Ben-Haim, Bloch, Honegger, Martinů, Copland, Barber, Walton, Respighi, Malipiero
Re: Paul Creston (1906-1985)
« Reply #17 on: June 05, 2020, 05:15:35 AM »
I've recently realised how good Symphony No.3 'Three Mysteries' is, especially the slow movement (another great American 'third symphony'!) I agree with Kyle that symphonies 2 and 3 are firm favourites. I've recently ordered a second hand copy of the old Delos CD featuring Symphony No.5. I always find his music of interest.

Man, now I’m going to have to dig out my Creston recordings! :P
“There will be sunshine again and the violins will sing of peace on earth.” - Closing line from Weinberg’s Symphony No. 6, Op. 79

Online vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 17503
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: Paul Creston (1906-1985)
« Reply #18 on: June 05, 2020, 11:25:24 AM »
Man, now I’m going to have to dig out my Creston recordings! :P

Most definitely!
 8)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Symphonic Addict

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1291
Re: Paul Creston (1906-1985)
« Reply #19 on: June 07, 2020, 04:48:13 PM »
Once I heard his Marimba Concerto live. A so cool piece.