Author Topic: Naxos American Classics  (Read 32169 times)

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Offline vandermolen

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Naxos American Classics
« on: July 06, 2008, 01:22:49 PM »
Following the Naxos Japanese composers thread I thought I'd start one for American composers. In particular I'd be interested in your views on the lesser known composers whose music appears in this series. Two recent purchases which I've enjoyed are Stephen Albert's Symphony No 1 "River Run" and Adolphus Hailstork's (great name!) Symphony 3. Albert, in particular, strikes me as a major discovery. Tragically he was killed in a car crash, when he was only 51 (in 1992). Flagello's First Symphony has been another important discovery for me. Any other recommendations?
"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 Brewski

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2008, 01:45:55 PM »
I can enthusiastically recommend at least two: Joan Tower's Made in America, and Huang Ruo's Chamber Concerto cycle.  The former has three substantial Tower works, beautifully played by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra with Leonard Slatkin, and the latter is the first release by the up-and-coming International Contemporary Ensemble (a.k.a., ICE), with works by one of the most interesting young composers on the scene.  But given the size of the list (here), I think this is just the tip of the iceberg.

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mn dave

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2008, 01:46:32 PM »
Oh, just buy them all. You know you want to.  ;D

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2008, 02:01:25 PM »
Oh, just buy them all. You know you want to.  ;D

That is quite true  :o but as an underpaid school teacher I have to be selective (well, up to a point anyway!)
"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 vandermolen

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2008, 02:04:28 PM »
I can enthusiastically recommend at least two: Joan Tower's Made in America, and Huang Ruo's Chamber Concerto cycle.  The former has three substantial Tower works, beautifully played by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra with Leonard Slatkin, and the latter is the first release by the up-and-coming International Contemporary Ensemble (a.k.a., ICE), with works by one of the most interesting young composers on the scene.  But given the size of the list (here), I think this is just the tip of the iceberg.

--Bruce

Thanks Bruce,

I'll look out for these.

Jeffrey
"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).

mn dave

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2008, 02:56:52 PM »
Jeffrey,

J. Scott Morrison, who pops in here at GMG from time to time, writes detailed Amazon reviews for many of these Naxos recordings.

Here is his profile from where you can access all his reviews.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A2PAD826IH1HFE/ref=cm_pdp_pop_prof_name

[Just scroll down to the Reviews section.]

bwv 1080

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2008, 03:26:18 PM »
Get the Stefan Wolpe string quartet disc - great players (Fred Sherry, Harvey Sollberger, Charles Wuorinen) and the SQ is much less well known than it deserves

gomro

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2008, 03:28:18 PM »
Following the Naxos Japanese composers thread I thought I'd start one for American composers. In particular I'd be interested in your views on the lesser known composers whose music appears in this series. Two recent purchases which I've enjoyed are Stephen Albert's Symphony No 1 "River Run" and Adolphus Hailstork's (great name!) Symphony 3. Albert, in particular, strikes me as a major discovery. Tragically he was killed in a car crash, when he was only 51 (in 1992). Flagello's First Symphony has been another important discovery for me. Any other recommendations?

I really enjoyed Samuel Jones' Roundings, which has the single best "musical locomotive" out there (even among such competition as Pacific 231 and Nyman's MGV) among its tone paintings, each inspired by a specific mural from the New Deal era of America. Melodically the pieces are quite Coplandesque, yet with a definite personality of their own.  At one point the recorded sound of a John Deere tractor is used as a rhythmic loop; it works, too!  The cello sonata on the disc is also fine, rather austere and stern as opposed to the often joyous sound of Roundings.

Joan Tower's Made in America is a good purchase; I heard some music by this composer some years ago that didn't do much for me, but the three pieces on that disc have forced me to reevaluate her musical value.  Made in America takes off from the melody of America The Beautiful, but this is no Ivesian quotation, but a perpetual reworking and recasting of the melody in a hundred different kaleidoscopic forms.

Paul Moravec's discs, The Time Gallery and Tempest Fantasia, remind me of nothing so much as certain avantgarde rock bands with strong Bartok/Stravinsky leanings, particularly the Belgian bands Aranis and Univers Zero. Tempest Fantasia won a Pulitzer; I find that prizes don't always mean quality, but this music is quite interesting and powerful.

M forever

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2008, 04:26:11 PM »
I just started reading this heavy volume



so naturally I am interested in hearing some of the music by composers mentioned therein. For instance Chadwick, a fellow of who I had never heard but who was apparently a very well known composer in Boston around 1900. I sampled some of the tracks available online, e.g. of the 2nd symphony, and what I heard appeared to me, as they would have said in his day, rather delightful, so I am thinking about getting some of his music. Any tips?

mn dave

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2008, 04:48:24 PM »
I just started reading this heavy volume



so naturally I am interested in hearing some of the music by composers mentioned therein. For instance Chadwick, a fellow of who I had never heard but who was apparently a very well known composer in Boston around 1900. I sampled some of the tracks available online, e.g. of the 2nd symphony, and what I heard appeared to me, as they would have said in his day, rather delightful, so I am thinking about getting some of his music. Any tips?

I'm still slowly making my way through the same book, M (I haven't made much time to read lately). And it prompted me to pick up a couple Chadwick CDs from Naxos.

Harry

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2008, 11:15:32 PM »
I buy almost all the cd's in this series, and the latest that I played, was the one below.
Flagello's work, as well as Rosner's are of extra ordinary quality, and I love this music very much. The element of two symphonic
Masses, so Orchestral works, without the chorus, was very appealing to me, and I was proven right.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2008, 12:09:01 AM »
Thank you for the replies. I have ordered the Towers CD "Made in America" and the Flagello recommendation. So maybe starting this thread wasn't good for my bank balance!
"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 vandermolen

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2008, 12:11:05 AM »
Jeffrey,

J. Scott Morrison, who pops in here at GMG from time to time, writes detailed Amazon reviews for many of these Naxos recordings.

Here is his profile from where you can access all his reviews.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A2PAD826IH1HFE/ref=cm_pdp_pop_prof_name

[Just scroll down to the Reviews section.]

Dave,

Thanks very much. I have read many reviews by Scott Morrison and they are very detailed. Many thanks for the link.

Jeffrey
"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).

Harry

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2008, 12:47:58 AM »
. So maybe starting this thread wasn't good for my bank balance!

I am quite sure it is not my friend, asking for recommendations will always cost you money.

;D

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2008, 01:00:00 AM »
I am quite sure it is not my friend, asking for recommendations will always cost you money.

;D

Yes, and you have not helped with your new Flagello recommendation, which I have already ordered. You are just feeding my OCCDCD (obsessive compulsive CD collecting disorder) and, furthermore as someone with medical knowledge you should know better  ;D
"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 Dundonnell

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #15 on: July 07, 2008, 02:08:18 AM »
The Naxos American Classics is a strange series-in my opinion. I can't quite figure out the use of the word 'Classics' for a number of composers and compositions who are almost completely unknown. That is not to say that they don't deserve to be brought to the attention of the listening public. I have certainly discovered a good deal of extremely fine music through the series. The Flagello/Rosner disc mentioned above contains two pieces with which I fell instantly in love. The two Hailstork symphonies are attractive works. I too was impressed by the late Stephen Albert.
It just puzzles me a little that Naxos should choose to record so much that is (frankly) obscure before going for more established composers whose music desperately requires to be recorded. It is perfectly true that the company is doing a set of William Schuman's symphonies with Gerard Schwarz but Nos. 6 and 8 still await release. They have committed to a Roy Harris set but that is going very slowly(although Nos. 5 and 6 have been recorded recently). What is certainly required would include the unrecorded symphonies of David Diamond(Nos. 6,7, 9, 10 and 11), Paul Creston's 6th, George Rochberg's 3rd, 4th and 6th and a modern set of Peter Mennin's symphonies-to mention but some. I do feel that these works would more accurately fit the definition of 'classics' than the recent CD of music by Hubert Klyne Headley, whose symphony and piano concerti seemed pretty second rate to me.

pjme

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #16 on: July 07, 2008, 02:16:03 AM »
I buy almost all the cd's in this series, and the latest that I played, was the one below.
Flagello's work, as well as Rosner's are of extra ordinary quality, and I love this music very much. The element of two symphonic
Masses, so Orchestral works, without the chorus, was very appealing to me, and I was proven right.

I agree, in sofar, that both works are indeed substantial and agreeable. Flagello's work has more "bite" ( possibly"structure" ) than Rosner's . I found Rosner's "Missa" tiring on the ears after a while - huge washes of fluttering neo-impressionistic color, usually capped by tam tam crashes ( and that Ukranian instrument has a strange "rumbling/grumbling" sound - almost as an electronic device...). Respighian -splendor -indigestion - alert!
Still, good work from conductor  & orchestra - but I will take it in small doses.

Anyway, the American Composers series adds greatly to our knowledge .
P.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2008, 02:21:29 AM by pjme »

pjme

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2008, 02:18:39 AM »
It just puzzles me a little that Naxos should choose to record so much that is (frankly) obscure before going for more established composers whose music desperately requires to be recorded. It is perfectly true that the company is doing a set of William Schuman's symphonies with Gerard Schwarz but Nos. 6 and 8 still await release. They have committed to a Roy Harris set but that is going very slowly(although Nos. 5 and 6 have been recorded recently). What is certainly required would include the unrecorded symphonies of David Diamond(Nos. 6,7, 9, 10 and 11), Paul Creston's 6th, George Rochberg's 3rd, 4th and 6th and a modern set of Peter Mennin's symphonies-to mention but some.

Heartily seconded!

P.

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2008, 02:19:03 AM »
You are just feeding my OCCDCD (obsessive compulsive CD collecting disorder)

So many people here are suffering from that...

* melancholy sigh *
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #19 on: July 07, 2008, 02:25:17 AM »
So many people here are suffering from that...

* melancholy sigh *

What else would I do with an entire wall of my (large) sitting room but decorate it with shelves of CDs? :)