Author Topic: Howard Hanson (1896-1981)  (Read 19203 times)

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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Howard Hanson (1896-1981)
« Reply #160 on: November 16, 2017, 08:42:47 AM »
I'm generally not a huge fan of historical recordings (due to sound quality), but I'd love to hear this. Unfortunately, it's OOP on Amazon and unavailable on YouTube and Spotify :( Do you know Hanson's own recording of his 3rd on Mercury? I haven't heard it yet myself.
The Dutton release of the Koussevitsky version of Symphony 3 was wonderful as it had been re-mastered more effectively than earlier incarnations. Sadly it was ridiculously priced on Amazon when I last looked. Maybe I should sell my version for £1000,000 and retire to the Seychelles!  8)

I have all of Hanson's Mercury recordings and agree with John about their excellence. For some reason Hanson's fine (IMHO) version of Symphony 4 'Requiem' was never given an official CD release.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Howard Hanson (1896-1981)
« Reply #161 on: November 16, 2017, 08:45:52 AM »
I was reading through this thread and came across comments which stated that while Schwarz's Hanson cycle is beautifully played and recorded, it lacks forward motion and a sense of architecture that is so vital to Hanson's music - I totally agree. Schwarz captures Hanson's lush, Romantic side very well - which is great - but rather misses out on the elemental, Sibelian power of his music. I compared the Schwarz and Kunzel (Telarc) recordings of the 2nd Symphony and the differences are readily apparent. Kunzel gives a sweeping, dramatic performance that never loses sight of the work's romantic essence, while Schwarz seems rather lethargic and over-indulgent by comparison.

So, in summary, Schwarz's Hanson cycle is certainly a great achievement, but should not be considered the last word on these works. There's more substance to be found under the surface of Hanson's lushly orchestrated, melodic music than Schwarz uncovers IMO. It's high time someone records a new Hanson cycle, but I'm not betting on it anytime soon. Then again, we have two Atterberg cycles, so all hope is not lost ;D If only Bernstein would've taken interest in Hanson's music...

P.S. We even more desperately need a complete cycle of Diamond's symphonies! It's a real pity that Schwarz and Naxos seem to have abandoned their Diamond series. A new Piston cycle would sure be nice, too!
I must revisit the Kunzel CD - it is really good and features the only recording of the entirely characteristic 'Bold Island Suite'.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline kyjo

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Re: Howard Hanson (1896-1981)
« Reply #162 on: November 16, 2017, 09:46:51 AM »
Thanks for the feedback, John and Jeffrey. I'll be sure to investigate Hanson's Mercury recordings of his own music (I've already heard his recording of the 2nd Symphony). A shame that his recording of the 4th isn't available on CD, and I guess he never got around to recording his final three symphonies.

Offline kyjo

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Re: Howard Hanson (1896-1981)
« Reply #163 on: November 16, 2017, 09:52:58 AM »
I must revisit the Kunzel CD - it is really good and features the only recording of the entirely characteristic 'Bold Island Suite'.

It's a fantastic CD, Jeffrey - probably the best Hanson CD out there and an ideal introduction to the composer. Kunzel's recording of the 2nd Symphony is the finest I know. The couplings are great too - I love the Merry Mount Suite with its dark opening that sounds like Tchaikovsky on steroids and its ultra-passionate Love Duet. The Bold Island Suite may generally lack the broad, sweeping melodies I normally associate with Hanson, but is an atmospheric and enjoyable work all the same. It's a real pity Kunzel didn't record more Hanson...
« Last Edit: November 16, 2017, 10:02:28 AM by kyjo »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Howard Hanson (1896-1981)
« Reply #164 on: November 16, 2017, 10:38:46 AM »
It's a fantastic CD, Jeffrey - probably the best Hanson CD out there and an ideal introduction to the composer. Kunzel's recording of the 2nd Symphony is the finest I know. The couplings are great too - I love the Merry Mount Suite with its dark opening that sounds like Tchaikovsky on steroids and its ultra-passionate Love Duet. The Bold Island Suite may generally lack the broad, sweeping melodies I normally associate with Hanson, but is an atmospheric and enjoyable work all the same. It's a real pity Kunzel didn't record more Hanson...
Totally agree with you Kyle. I did manage to track down a CD copy of Hanson conducting his Fourth Symphony although this was from an unofficial private company which no longer seems to exist.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline kyjo

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Re: Howard Hanson (1896-1981)
« Reply #165 on: November 16, 2017, 10:04:24 PM »
According to the formerly-active Colin (Dundonnell's) catalogue of Hanson's orchestral music, there are a number of orchestral and choral/orchestral works of his which remain unrecorded that I'd very much like to hear:

1916: Symphonic Prelude for orchestra, op.6
1917: Symphonic Legend for orchestra, op.8
1919: Symphonic Rhapsody for orchestra, op.14
          Prelude and Ballet “The Forest Play”, op.16
1920: Symphonic Poem “Before the Dawn”, op.17
          Symphonic Poem “Exaltation” with piano obbligato, op.20
1923: Symphonic Poem “North and West”, op.22
1927: “Heroic Elegy” for chorus and orchestra, op.28
1935: Songs from “Drum Taps” for baritone, chorus and orchestra, op.32
1949: The Cherubic Hymn for chorus and orchestra, op. 37
1953: “How Excellent Thy Name” for chorus and orchestra
1963: Song of Human Rights for chorus and orchestra, op.49
1965: Psalm 150 “Praise Ye The Lord” for chorus and orchestra
1968: Psalm CXXI for baritone, chorus and orchestra
1969: “Streams in the Desert” for chorus and orchestra
1976: Oratorio “New Land, New Covenant” for soprano, bass, narrator, chorus and orchestra

Offline kyjo

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Re: Howard Hanson (1896-1981)
« Reply #166 on: November 18, 2017, 02:37:48 PM »
Was just listening to Hanson's early tone poem Pan and Priest from the Nashville SO/Schermerhorn recording on Naxos and enjoyed it greatly. It's an atmospheric (if rather episodic) piece that contains effective use of the orchestral piano. I detected the influence of Respighi in places.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Howard Hanson (1896-1981)
« Reply #167 on: November 23, 2017, 10:58:29 AM »
Was just listening to Hanson's early tone poem Pan and Priest from the Nashville SO/Schermerhorn recording on Naxos and enjoyed it greatly. It's an atmospheric (if rather episodic) piece that contains effective use of the orchestral piano. I detected the influence of Respighi in places.
Delighted the you enjoyed it Kyle. Yes, that is one of the great Hanson CDs. A pity that Kenneth Schemerhorn did not record more Hanson.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

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