Author Topic: Halsey Stevens (1908-1989)  (Read 4997 times)

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Offline vandermolen

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Halsey Stevens (1908-1989)
« on: December 17, 2008, 05:20:31 AM »
I recently, by chance, came across a CD of music by this interesting American composer whom I had never heard of. At the moment I am enjoying his Symphony No 1 from 1945, a short single movement of c 15 minutes. Tonal, very dramatic and propulsive, it is an engaging work. He reminds me a bit of William Schuman. The later Symphonic Dances (1958) are enjoyable and show the influence of Copland and Stravinsky. The slow movement is especially fine as is the eloquent Cello Sonata on the same CD. Worth exploring I think.

The website below includes a review of the CD:

http://www.halseystevens.com/
"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: Halsey Stevens (1908-1989)
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2008, 07:36:34 AM »
Just ordered this from the US ;D ;D

Offline Guido

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Re: Halsey Stevens (1908-1989)
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2008, 08:08:12 AM »
http://www.halseystevens.com/

Very useful website and the people who run it (I think his family) are extremely helpful if you have any questions. I have most of the cello pieces and some are really very lovely - as you say he's in the mould of W.Schuman or Harris or perhaps Piston.
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Halsey Stevens (1908-1989)
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2008, 09:00:05 AM »
http://www.halseystevens.com/

Very useful website and the people who run it (I think his family) are extremely helpful if you have any questions. I have most of the cello pieces and some are really very lovely - as you say he's in the mould of W.Schuman or Harris or perhaps Piston.

Yes, like Piston too. I agree.
"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: Halsey Stevens (1908-1989)
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2008, 09:01:50 AM »
Just ordered this from the US ;D ;D

Thought you might!

Hope you enjoy it Colin. Opening of Symphony No 1 has great atmosphere.
"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: Halsey Stevens (1908-1989)
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2008, 09:10:49 AM »
Thought you might!

Hope you enjoy it Colin. Opening of Symphony No 1 has great atmosphere.

You know me by now ;D  Symphony? Don't have it! Must get it!!

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Halsey Stevens (1908-1989)
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2008, 10:06:27 AM »
You know me by now ;D  Symphony? Don't have it! Must get it!!

Yes, I'm familiar with that feeling too  ;D

At the risk of tempting you further do you know the rather moving Symphony No 4 by Gardner Read? It is in the same series (CRI American Masters) as the Halsey Stevens and Peter Mennin's symphonies 3 and 7.
"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: Halsey Stevens (1908-1989)
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2008, 10:08:20 AM »
Yes, I'm familiar with that feeling too  ;D

At the risk of tempting you further do you know the rather moving Symphony No 4 by Gardner Read? It is in the same series (CRI American Masters) as the Halsey Stevens and Peter Mennin's symphonies 3 and 7.

Get thee behind me..........! ;D ;D

Gardner Reed? New name to me! Will investigate :)

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Halsey Stevens (1908-1989)
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2008, 10:17:08 AM »
Jeffrey.....can I introduce you to my bank manager? I think that he might like a chat ;D ;D

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Halsey Stevens (1908-1989)
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2008, 10:30:28 AM »
Jeffrey.....can I introduce you to my bank manager? I think that he might like a chat ;D ;D

Sorry Colin, but Gardner Read may have to come your way too  ;D The darkly moving Symphony No 4 is conducted by Maazel (Cleveland SO) and his Symphony No 1 (not on the CD) was premiered by Barbirolli. The CD contains his atmospheric "Night Flight" (after St Exupery)...Barber was also influenced by this work to compose an identically titled work (from his withdrawn Symphony 2). Barber's work is the more lyrical but Gardner Read's closer to the spirit of the book I think...a very atmospheric work (Louisville Orchestra, Whitney). Finally there is Los Dioses Aztecas - The Aztec Gods played by a percussion ensemble. Yes, Colin I think that you need this CD too  ;D

http://home.att.net/~gardnerread/
"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: Halsey Stevens (1908-1989)
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2008, 10:32:47 AM »
Guess what...... ;D ;D

karlhenning

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Re: Halsey Stevens (1908-1989)
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2008, 10:33:08 AM »
Jeffrey.....can I introduce you to my bank manager? I think that he might like a chat ;D ;D

Great scene like that in A New Leaf!

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Halsey Stevens (1908-1989)
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2008, 10:36:34 AM »
I am going off for a meal in Edinburgh before you tell me about any more American symphonists in whose music I should invest my remaining assets ;D

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Halsey Stevens (1908-1989)
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2008, 10:48:33 AM »
I am going off for a meal in Edinburgh before you tell me about any more American symphonists in whose music I should invest my remaining assets ;D

Have PM'd you in attempt to avoid being implicated in another financial melt-down at this difficult time  ;D
« Last Edit: December 17, 2008, 10:50:05 AM by vandermolen »
"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: Halsey Stevens (1908-1989)
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2008, 05:51:41 PM »
Have PM'd you in attempt to avoid being implicated in another financial melt-down at this difficult time  ;D

Too late, I fear ;D ;D

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Halsey Stevens (1908-1989)
« Reply #15 on: December 29, 2008, 12:26:20 PM »
Thanks to what seems these days an incredibly fast transatlantic postal service I have now received and played the two cds which Jeffrey recommended-the Halsey Stevens and the Gardner Read.

I concur with his views on both :) It is a pity that Stevens did not write any more symphonies since, as Jeffrey said, there is a considerable mastery of form in the concise propulsion of his 1st. The Gardner Read 4th is impressive as well but I must say that I found the lengthy Los Dioses Aztecas for percussion ensemble rather outstayed its welcome.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Halsey Stevens (1908-1989)
« Reply #16 on: December 29, 2008, 12:33:10 PM »
Thanks to what seems these days an incredibly fast transatlantic postal service I have now received and played the two cds which Jeffrey recommended-the Halsey Stevens and the Gardner Read.

I concur with his views on both :) It is a pity that Stevens did not write any more symphonies since, as Jeffrey said, there is a considerable mastery of form in the concise propulsion of his 1st. The Gardner Read 4th is impressive as well but I must say that I found the lengthy Los Dioses Aztecas for percussion ensemble rather outstayed its welcome.

Delighted you enjoyed them Colin. I feel less guilty about your bank manager now! I agree that one can have too much of the percussion work by Gardner Read. Next up for you Sir Simon Rattle's "A Thatcher Portrait" (3 hours 2CDs DGG)  ;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: Halsey Stevens (1908-1989)
« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2008, 12:42:15 PM »
Think I shall pass on that one, Jeffrey, if you don't mind ;D ;D

If anyone is interested I happened to find a recording of Vincent Persichetti's Symphony No. 9 'Sinfonia Janiculum'(Philadelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy) coupled (strangely enough) with Penderecki's 'Utrenja' available on request through Arkiv at a reasonable price. This is the only Persichetti symphony I haven't heard to date(his 1st and 2nd were withdrawn). Also ordered Wallingford Riegger's 3rd from the same source ;D