Author Topic: Howard Hanson (1896-1981)  (Read 22310 times)

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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Howard Hanson (1896-1981)
« Reply #140 on: August 29, 2016, 05:16:55 PM »
I've been revisiting some Hanson lately and I've got to say I'm mightily impressed with what I've heard so far. Archaic Torso of Apollo mentioned that Hanson was like an American Kurt Atterberg. That is an apt observation and one I'm inclined to agree with. Symphony No. 4, "Requiem" I found to be quite gripping. I also liked Symphony No. 3 a lot.
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Howard Hanson (1896-1981)
« Reply #141 on: August 29, 2016, 10:14:53 PM »
I've been revisiting some Hanson lately and I've got to say I'm mightily impressed with what I've heard so far. Archaic Torso of Apollo mentioned that Hanson was like an American Kurt Atterberg. That is an apt observation and one I'm inclined to agree with. Symphony No. 4, "Requiem" I found to be quite gripping. I also liked Symphony No. 3 a lot.
I think that the Atterberg comparison is apt as well. I like both of those symphonies too John. I've been listening to Hanson's original 1940s recording of his Symphony 1 'Nordic'. I know that you are not too keen on historical recording but like Koussevitsky's recording of Symphony 3 it has a gripping intensity unlike any of the other versions I have heard including Hanson's later 'Mercury' recording and the more recent one under Gerard Schwarz, fine as they are.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Howard Hanson (1896-1981)
« Reply #142 on: August 30, 2016, 05:21:16 AM »
I think that the Atterberg comparison is apt as well. I like both of those symphonies too John. I've been listening to Hanson's original 1940s recording of his Symphony 1 'Nordic'. I know that you are not too keen on historical recording but like Koussevitsky's recording of Symphony 3 it has a gripping intensity unlike any of the other versions I have heard including Hanson's later 'Mercury' recording and the more recent one under Gerard Schwarz, fine as they are.

I'm sure the Koussevitsky Hanson 3rd is intense. As much as I love Schwarz's performances, I'd love to have heard someone like Bernstein conduct Hanson's symphonies as I believe he would have given them a fiery approach that they need. Imagine Bernstein in the 3rd or 4th. Wow.
"Music should be able to invoke the natural emotions in all human beings. Music is not notes fixed on apiece of paper.” - Toru Takemitsu

Online PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Howard Hanson (1896-1981)
« Reply #143 on: August 30, 2016, 06:53:33 AM »
I'm sure the Koussevitsky Hanson 3rd is intense. As much as I love Schwarz's performances, I'd love to have heard someone like Bernstein conduct Hanson's symphonies as I believe he would have given them a fiery approach that they need. Imagine Bernstein in the 3rd or 4th. Wow.
That's the problem, they really haven't been given a good performance. There is no alternate to Borin' Schwarz in terms of modern recordings. I am sorry I just don't like the Schwarz Seattle recordings. They are nice enough but in no way very memorable, plus the sound volume is very low (try the one with the Serenade for Flute Harp Strings). I always wish an Eastern European ensemble like the Nat. SO of the Ukraine would have taken it, at least it will sound a bit more urgeant.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Howard Hanson (1896-1981)
« Reply #144 on: August 30, 2016, 09:24:44 AM »
Having been gripped by Hanson's own first recording of Symphony 1 'Nordic' I have now turned my attention to Symphony 2 'Romantic' recorded in 1939 (Biddulph CD) and feel rather guilty about sniffly turning my nose up at the 'Hollywoodishness' of Symphony 2. I was gripped and moved throughout the performance despite the 'snap, crackle and pop' of the recording surface. They remind me a bit in their intensity of those very early Kajanus recordings of the Sibelius symphonies which have a similar urgency and visionary quality about them.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Online PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Howard Hanson (1896-1981)
« Reply #145 on: August 30, 2016, 10:06:06 AM »
I really like this recording:



Somehow optimistically dubbed Volume 1 (there are no other Volumes). The playing is so much more gripping and everything stands out more than either the Mercury recording with a rather scrawny sounding Rochester Orchestra or the rather aloof Seattle SO.

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Re: Howard Hanson (1896-1981)
« Reply #146 on: August 30, 2016, 05:45:17 PM »
That's the problem, they really haven't been given a good performance. There is no alternate to Borin' Schwarz in terms of modern recordings. I am sorry I just don't like the Schwarz Seattle recordings. They are nice enough but in no way very memorable, plus the sound volume is very low (try the one with the Serenade for Flute Harp Strings). I always wish an Eastern European ensemble like the Nat. SO of the Ukraine would have taken it, at least it will sound a bit more urgeant.

What I consider good and you consider good are two different things. I like the Schwarz recordings and I have no problems with them whatsoever. They do the job for me.
"Music should be able to invoke the natural emotions in all human beings. Music is not notes fixed on apiece of paper.” - Toru Takemitsu

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Howard Hanson (1896-1981)
« Reply #147 on: August 30, 2016, 09:51:22 PM »
I really like this recording:



Somehow optimistically dubbed Volume 1 (there are no other Volumes). The playing is so much more gripping and everything stands out more than either the Mercury recording with a rather scrawny sounding Rochester Orchestra or the rather aloof Seattle SO.
Totally agree with you. It is my favourite modern recording of the 'Nordic' and the CD also contains another very fine shorter work 'Pan and the Priest'. I'm sorry too that Maestro Schemerhorn didn't record any more Hanson. Maybe Naxos found it more economically viable to reissue the pre-recorded Schwarz series than record new versions - a pity if true. I hadn't noticed before that it says 'Orchestral Works, Vol.1'.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2016, 09:54:47 PM by vandermolen »
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Re: Howard Hanson (1896-1981)
« Reply #148 on: August 31, 2016, 05:11:38 AM »
Totally agree with you. It is my favourite modern recording of the 'Nordic' and the CD also contains another very fine shorter work 'Pan and the Priest'. I'm sorry too that Maestro Schemerhorn didn't record any more Hanson. Maybe Naxos found it more economically viable to reissue the pre-recorded Schwarz series than record new versions - a pity if true. I hadn't noticed before that it says 'Orchestral Works, Vol.1'.

What made it even worse is Schermerhorn passed away, so there wasn't any possible way for him to finish the cycle.
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Online PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Howard Hanson (1896-1981)
« Reply #149 on: August 31, 2016, 06:58:12 AM »
I've been revisiting some Hanson lately and I've got to say I'm mightily impressed with what I've heard so far. Archaic Torso of Apollo mentioned that Hanson was like an American Kurt Atterberg.
Ugh. If there is ever a kiss of death is is something like " This composer is the [fill in the nationality] [fill in another composer]". Remember they call Joseph Martin Kraus(?) "the Swedish Mozart"? Somehow that really stuck and everytime they play his music they say: here is a piece by the Swedish Mozart. Until the listener figures out Kraus ain't no Mozart.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Howard Hanson (1896-1981)
« Reply #150 on: August 31, 2016, 07:45:53 AM »
What made it even worse is Schermerhorn passed away, so there wasn't any possible way for him to finish the cycle.
Oh, that's very sad news indeed but thanks for letting us know John. I shall play that CD in tribute later.

Somehow I imagined him as someone younger:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Schermerhorn

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/19/arts/music/kenneth-schermerhorn-rigorous-conductor-dies-at-75.html?_r=0
« Last Edit: August 31, 2016, 07:52:03 AM by vandermolen »
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Howard Hanson (1896-1981)
« Reply #151 on: September 01, 2016, 06:21:34 AM »
Oh, that's very sad news indeed but thanks for letting us know John. I shall play that CD in tribute later.

Somehow I imagined him as someone younger:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Schermerhorn

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/19/arts/music/kenneth-schermerhorn-rigorous-conductor-dies-at-75.html?_r=0

Yeah, as you can see he died years ago. I knew of his death whenever I started collecting a few of his recordings. He's most notably remembered IMHO for his championship of Villa-Lobos. He also made an Ives recording of Symphony No. 2 and Robert Browning Overture that are worth your consideration.
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Offline Heck148

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Re: Howard Hanson (1896-1981)
« Reply #152 on: September 01, 2016, 06:56:43 AM »
I remember being very impressed with this once upon a time.....so I am playing it now. Thank you for reminding me. Glorious tunes. All those fans of Atterberg really ought to immerse themselves in Hanson as well.

That is a very good disc - The Merry Mount Suite is well done as well, equal to, but different from Hanson's own with Eastman-Rochester on Mercury.
Merry Mount is excellent - both full opera, and Suite...the Love-Duet wipes me out every time.

Sym #3 is my favorite, but #1 Nordic is very fine also - powerful stuff...Hanson knew how to draw a big sonority from the orchestra.

Online PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Howard Hanson (1896-1981)
« Reply #153 on: September 01, 2016, 07:00:12 AM »
Yeah, as you can see he died years ago. I knew of his death whenever I started collecting a few of his recordings. He's most notably remembered IMHO for his championship of Villa-Lobos. He also made an Ives recording of Symphony No. 2 and Robert Browning Overture that are worth your consideration.
There is a nice 11cd set with the deceased maestro and his Nashville forces if anyone is interested.

https://www.amazon.com/Schermerhorn-Symphony-Center-Commemorative-Collection/dp/B0017A8OOQ/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1472745523&sr=8-7&keywords=nashville+symphony+orchestra


Speaking of overly optimistic. Anyone remember this:



Dubbed "Brian Cycle"?
« Last Edit: September 01, 2016, 04:51:33 PM by PerfectWagnerite »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Howard Hanson (1896-1981)
« Reply #154 on: September 02, 2016, 11:32:17 PM »
That is a very good disc - The Merry Mount Suite is well done as well, equal to, but different from Hanson's own with Eastman-Rochester on Mercury.
Merry Mount is excellent - both full opera, and Suite...the Love-Duet wipes me out every time.

Sym #3 is my favorite, but #1 Nordic is very fine also - powerful stuff...Hanson knew how to draw a big sonority from the orchestra.

Those are my favourites too although I like all of the Hanson symphonies. Probably my order of preference would be:

No.3
No.1 'Nordic'
No.4 (Requiem for his Father)
No.5 'Sacra'
No.2 'Romantic'
No.6
No.7 'Sea Symphony'
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Howard Hanson (1896-1981)
« Reply #155 on: September 02, 2016, 11:34:28 PM »
There is a nice 11cd set with the deceased maestro and his Nashville forces if anyone is interested.

https://www.amazon.com/Schermerhorn-Symphony-Center-Commemorative-Collection/dp/B0017A8OOQ/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1472745523&sr=8-7&keywords=nashville+symphony+orchestra


Speaking of overly optimistic. Anyone remember this:



Dubbed "Brian Cycle"?
Yes, I have that Brian CD too. The Schemerhorn set looks great but too expensive for me. However, I will look out for some of his other recordings.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline kyjo

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Re: Howard Hanson (1896-1981)
« Reply #156 on: November 15, 2017, 02:12:45 PM »
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!
« Last Edit: November 15, 2017, 02:19:31 PM by kyjo »
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Howard Hanson (1896-1981)
« Reply #157 on: November 15, 2017, 11:07:46 PM »
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!
Agree with everything you say here Kyle. Koussevitsky's Sibelian recording of Hanson's Third Symphony is IMHO the greatest performance of any Hanson symphony.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline kyjo

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Re: Howard Hanson (1896-1981)
« Reply #158 on: November 16, 2017, 06:54:38 AM »
Agree with everything you say here Kyle. Koussevitsky's Sibelian recording of Hanson's Third Symphony is IMHO the greatest performance of any Hanson symphony.

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.
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Re: Howard Hanson (1896-1981)
« Reply #159 on: November 16, 2017, 06:58:02 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.

As much as I like Schwarz’s Hanson (and I do like it a good deal), Hanson’s own conducted performances are where it’s at and they have that wonderful Mercury Living Presence sound, which I have always been a fan of.
"Music should be able to invoke the natural emotions in all human beings. Music is not notes fixed on apiece of paper.” - Toru Takemitsu

 

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