Author Topic: Your Top Five Favorite American Symphonies  (Read 5910 times)

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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Your Top Five Favorite American Symphonies
« Reply #40 on: April 15, 2015, 09:02:06 AM »
Nice to see Hanson included although my favourites are 3 and 6.

Mine too. I find that the 3rd does the craggy Nordic-Romantic thing better than #1 ("Nordic") and #2 ("Romantic"). Though they are nice pieces also.
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Re: Your Top Five Favorite American Symphonies
« Reply #41 on: April 15, 2015, 09:26:17 AM »
I have never heard Fine's symphony. I guess I should seek it out. Even though it was mentioned by *gulp* Ives voters.

Offline Daverz

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Re: Your Top Five Favorite American Symphonies
« Reply #42 on: April 15, 2015, 09:44:24 AM »
Thread Duty!

In alphabetical order:

Bernstein, Symphony № 2, The Age of Anxiety
Flagello, Missa sinfonica
Gallagher, Symphony № 2, Ascendant
Mennin, Symphony № 7, Variations Symphony
Schuman, Symphony № 9, Le fosse ardeatine
Wuorinen, Symphony № 8, Theologoumena

The Flagello is a gem.  The Rosner Symphony it is paired with on a Naxos CD is also very fine.  The Schuman is thorny but rewarding.  The old Ormandy LP is still the best recording, I think.  I'll definitely look out for the Gallagher and Wuorinen works.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Your Top Five Favorite American Symphonies
« Reply #43 on: April 15, 2015, 12:26:56 PM »
The Flagello is a gem.  The Rosner Symphony it is paired with on a Naxos CD is also very fine.  The Schuman is thorny but rewarding.  The old Ormandy LP is still the best recording, I think.  I'll definitely look out for the Gallagher and Wuorinen works.

I like the Flagello and Rosner work too. I had some nice email exchanges with Rosner who actually suggested possibly meeting up,if he came to the UK, but sadly he passed away recently.
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Re: Your Top Five Favorite American Symphonies
« Reply #44 on: April 15, 2015, 12:33:21 PM »
I have never heard Fine's symphony. I guess I should seek it out. Even though it was mentioned by *gulp* Ives voters.

Please do!!  Also, his Partita for Wind Quintet comes highly recommended.

Offline NJ Joe

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Re: Your Top Five Favorite American Symphonies
« Reply #45 on: April 15, 2015, 03:47:48 PM »
Right now, in no particular order:

Barber 1
Piston 4
Ives 2
Schuman 3
Hovhaness 2


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Offline Cato

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Re: Your Top Five Favorite American Symphonies
« Reply #46 on: April 15, 2015, 05:16:32 PM »
5 Favorite American Composers of Symphonies

The case for Harold Shapero and his Symphony for Classical Orchestra:

http://www.nytimes.com/1999/02/21/arts/music-a-work-twice-lost-now-twice-found.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

Charles Ives: Complete Symphonies

Peter Mennin: Complete Symphonies

Elliott Carter Symphonia Sum Fluxae Pretium Spe and Symphony of Three Orchestras

Jerome Moross Symphony #1 (He only composed one)

Bernard Herrmann  Symphony #1 (He only composed one)

Oh!  Is that 6?! ???

Recent discoveries: thanks to Karl Henning, whose name will be added to this list eventually, we have Jack Gallagher, who should probably go by Jacques Gal Le Guerre  :o  or Jakob von Gallagher to get more exposure  ??? !  And for those who might wonder what a hybrid of Copland's Americana sound with John Adams-style Minimalism with a dash of jazzy spices would sound like, there is the incredibly named Adolphus Hailstork



« Last Edit: April 15, 2015, 05:23:27 PM by Cato »
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Your Top Five Favorite American Symphonies
« Reply #47 on: April 16, 2015, 01:24:52 AM »
Mine too. I find that the 3rd does the craggy Nordic-Romantic thing better than #1 ("Nordic") and #2 ("Romantic"). Though they are nice pieces also.

I agree. Do you know Koussevitsky's performance which is in a class of its own?
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Your Top Five Favorite American Symphonies
« Reply #48 on: April 16, 2015, 01:33:44 AM »
A vote for Lou Harrison from me. I really like his 'Elegiac' Symphony (No.2) and the third is also impressive. There is a fine CD coupled with Alan Hovhaness's 2nd Symphony 'Mysterious Mountain'. It is only £5 on Amazon UK


If you want just one Hovhaness CD in your collection this one IMHO features his two best symphonies:


A word here too in support of the fine Symphony 2 by the sadly short-lived American composer Robert Kurka (1921-57) whom, had he not died of leukaemia would, I am sure, have gone on to great things. His Second Symphony is powerful, dramatic and moving and should appeal to admirers of Harris, Barber, Piston etc although it has also been described as 'Americanised Prokofiev':

« Last Edit: April 16, 2015, 06:26:12 AM by vandermolen »
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Your Top Five Favorite American Symphonies
« Reply #49 on: April 16, 2015, 06:37:00 AM »
A vote for Lou Harrison from me. I really like his 'Elegiac' Symphony (No.2) and the third is also impressive. There is a fine CD coupled with Alan Hovhaness's 2nd Symphony 'Mysterious Mountain'. It is only £5 on Amazon UK


If you want just one Hovhaness CD in your collection this one IMHO features his two best symphonies:


A word here too in support of the fine Symphony 2 by the sadly short-lived American composer Robert Kurka (1921-57) whom, had he not died of leukaemia would, I am sure, have gone on to great things. His Second Symphony is powerful, dramatic and moving and should appeal to admirers of Harris, Barber, Piston etc although it has also been described as 'Americanised Prokofiev':



I really like Harrison's Elegiac Symphony. I can't say the same for the Hovhaness and Kurka. I was actually quite disappointed with the Kurka considering the amount of good press it seems to garner.
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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Your Top Five Favorite American Symphonies
« Reply #50 on: April 16, 2015, 06:52:47 AM »
I agree. Do you know Koussevitsky's performance which is in a class of its own?

No, I have Hanson's own performance on an old Mercury LP.
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Your Top Five Favorite American Symphonies
« Reply #51 on: April 16, 2015, 06:59:00 AM »
While I certainly enjoy the Mysterious Mountain, I am not sure that is the Hovhaness symphony I might have included. (One understands that Hovhaness wrote a good many symphonies, and that the Mysterious Mountain benefits from early exposure, and probably more performances than almost any of the rest.)  To continue this paragraph, even, I ought to revisit those of his symphonies I have heard . . . off the top of my head, the symphony I should prefer to be part of the list is the Symphony for Metal Orchestra, Op.203 (№ 17, 1963).  Certainly, as a composer myself, I am never comfortable with the suggestion that a composer wrote his best symphony early on, and failed to build upon that musical capital with further practice  8)
« Last Edit: April 16, 2015, 08:45:58 AM by karlhenning »
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Offline springrite

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Re: Your Top Five Favorite American Symphonies
« Reply #52 on: April 16, 2015, 07:07:13 AM »
While I certainly enjoy the Mysterious Mountain, I am not sure that is the Hovhaness symphony I might have included. (One understands that Hovhaness wrote a good many symphonies, and that the Mysterious Mountain benefits from early exposure, and probably more performances than almost any of the rest.)  To continue this paragraph, even, I ought to revisit those of his symphonies I have heard . . . off the top of my head, the symphony I should prefer to be part of the list is the Symphony of Metal Orchestra, Op.203 (№ 17, 1963).  Certainly, as a composer myself, I am never comfortable with the suggestion that a composer wrote his best symphony early on, and failed to build upon that musical capital with further practice  8)

I much prefer City of Light
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Your Top Five Favorite American Symphonies
« Reply #53 on: April 16, 2015, 07:10:05 AM »
I much prefer City of Light

Yes, I need to revisit that one . . . .
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Your Top Five Favorite American Symphonies
« Reply #54 on: April 16, 2015, 07:18:23 AM »
Riffing off Karl's post; would it be presumptuous to claim that for any composer the first was a "practice" symphony?

I think that speculation is in line with Jeffrey's question ("What is it about third symphonies?").  Maybe there is a common mental trap which burdens the creation of the symphony № 1, and it takes the composer a process of writing out of that trap.  I don't think it's anything like universal . . . Nielsen, Mahler and Shostakovich (to name but three) started out with strong firsts.  Prokofiev, too, though one might argue that he gamed the task by the deliberate use of a historical model.
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Your Top Five Favorite American Symphonies
« Reply #55 on: April 16, 2015, 08:47:17 AM »
Toch and Martinů, too, perfectly assured first symphonies.
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Re: Your Top Five Favorite American Symphonies
« Reply #56 on: April 16, 2015, 08:48:11 AM »
  Certainly, as a composer myself, I am never comfortable with the suggestion that a composer wrote his best symphony early on, and failed to build upon that musical capital with further practice 

Pffft. Schubert produced nothing of value after he was 33.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Your Top Five Favorite American Symphonies
« Reply #57 on: April 16, 2015, 08:50:57 AM »
I can only hope he was joking (but that hope is none too strong) . . . on Facebook I saw someone post that he is "in contact" with Frank Zappa in The Great Beyond, and that Frank is still writing great stuff.

Well, Schubert must be giving FZ a run for his money, I should say.  Wonder if Schubert is done yet setting the German translation of "Titties 'n' Beer"?
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Offline 71 dB

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Re: Your Top Five Favorite American Symphonies
« Reply #58 on: April 16, 2015, 10:03:00 AM »
Frankly I don't think I have even one "favorite" American Symphony. I wouldn't probably even noticed if all American Symphonies vanished away... ...that's how ignorant I am.

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Offline Daverz

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Re: Your Top Five Favorite American Symphonies
« Reply #59 on: April 16, 2015, 12:03:22 PM »



Listened to this on Tidal.  I much prefer the Grant Park Orchestra recording of the Kurka symphony.  I really enjoyed the Helps Piano Concerto No. 2, though.

http://www.cedillerecords.org/albums/robert-kurka-symphonic-works

Frankly I don't think I have even one "favorite" American Symphony. I wouldn't probably even noticed if all American Symphonies vanished away... ...that's how ignorant I am.

 ??? :o >:( Time to invade Finland!
« Last Edit: April 16, 2015, 12:06:28 PM by Daverz »

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