Author Topic: John Alden Carpenter  (Read 1498 times)

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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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John Alden Carpenter
« on: July 01, 2014, 06:11:34 PM »
Heard his Krazy Kat ballet on a radio program and was intrigued by it. Also Adventures in a Perambulator. Quite a creative fellow, it seems.

I'm interested also because he lived according to the Ives paradigm: business during the day (shipping company in his case), and writing music in his spare time. Also, he was based in Chicago, but I've never seen the CSO or any other local orchestra program his works. Supposedly there's a ballet Skyscrapers that is well worth hearing.

Any thoughts on Mr. C? Recommendations, etc.?
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Online vandermolen

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Re: John Alden Carpenter
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2014, 01:55:53 AM »
I enjoyed the Naxos CD with symphonies 1 and 2 on but have not played it for a long time - must fish it out.
"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 Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: John Alden Carpenter
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2014, 03:56:55 PM »
Supposedly there's a ballet Skyscrapers that is well worth hearing.

So I got this disc, which has Skyscrapers on it:



The whole disc, featuring the LSO under a conductor I've never heard of (Kenneth Klein), is interesting and stimulating as a snapshot of what certain minor American composers were doing at the time. Skyscrapers is the big piece on the disc. It's very impressive, a sort of melding of the styles of Stravinsky and Gershwin - it dates from the mid-1920s. Yet again, I'm surprised to find a piece this exciting and polished, but which never gets played!

The rest of the CD is good too. I'm glad to have Arthur Foote's very Elgar-like Suite for Strings. Based on this and the chamber music I've heard, Foote is an unadventurous but serious, high-quality composer.

The disc advertises these composers as belonging to an "East Coast School," but as far as I can tell this is made up. Carpenter was based in Chicago, which is nowhere near the East Coast. Still, a disc well worth exploring.
formerly VELIMIR (before that, Spitvalve)

"Who knows not strict counterpoint, lives and dies an ignoramus" - CPE Bach

cilgwyn

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Re: John Alden Carpenter
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2014, 09:15:31 AM »
I think his tone poem 'Sea Drift' (1933 rev.1942) on the Bridge cd 'American Tone Poems' is absolutely gorgeous! Lovely,sumptuous late romantic music,beautifully orchestrated.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: John Alden Carpenter
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2014, 10:26:46 AM »
I've got a recording on Naxos of some of this composer's music but nothing really stood out to me as being exceptional. Well-crafted, enjoyable music certainly.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

cilgwyn

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Re: John Alden Carpenter
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2014, 10:35:28 AM »
I haven't heard anything else by John Alden Carpenter,I might add! Of course being keen on Delius the title of the work on the Bridge cd is of some interest. Having said that,I would say Carpenter's 'Sea Drift' is of more appeal to Bantockians than Delians;although less 'perfumed' than the former! If I can find the cd I'll have a look at the notes inside.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: John Alden Carpenter
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2014, 12:21:12 PM »
Griffes is my favorite American 'Impressionist'. It's too bad his life was cut so short. He definitely exhibited a lot of potential, especially in works like The Pleasure Dome of Kubla Khan, The White Peacock, and Clouds.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline listener

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Re: John Alden Carpenter
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2014, 12:12:56 PM »
It helps to have been old enough and able to afford these lps in the 80's.  The recoding was probably the L.A. Philharmonic from a New World LP.   It is a ballet-pantomime based on the cartoon character.
I'll move it up in my listening stack.
Another Skyscrapers was an early mono recording on ARS, re-issued by Desto with "fake" stereo by the Vienna Symphony Orch., E. von Zallinger conducting.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2014, 12:14:38 PM by listener »
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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: John Alden Carpenter
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2014, 12:29:25 PM »
Another Skyscrapers was an early mono recording on ARS, re-issued by Desto with "fake" stereo by the Vienna Symphony Orch., E. von Zallinger conducting.

Interesting to know about this. Some pioneering recordings of American works were done on obscure labels in Europe. Another example is the first recording (1953) of Ives' 2nd Symphony, by the Vienna Philharmonic (!) under F. Charles Adler, well-known for his early Mahler recordings.
formerly VELIMIR (before that, Spitvalve)

"Who knows not strict counterpoint, lives and dies an ignoramus" - CPE Bach