Author Topic: William Schuman (1910-1992)  (Read 72335 times)

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Offline Dundonnell

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Re: William Schuman (1910-1992)
« Reply #40 on: March 14, 2009, 06:46:40 AM »
To clear this up-

Delos issued Schwarz and the Seattle SO in a recording of Schuman's 5th Symphony(Symphony for Strings) made in 1992. Naxos have reissued this coupled with a new recording of Symphony No.3 made in 2005.

The Naxos recordings of Symphony No. 4 coupled with No.9 'Le fosse ardeatine' and No.7 coupled with No.10 'American Muse' are new recordings made between 2003 and 2004. The intention is clearly to issue a complete set-which means that Nos. 6 and 8 will be issued together at some point. If they were also recorded around the same time as the others I am surprised that Naxos has not yet issued the cd but who knows-the ways of record companies are often very strange!
« Last Edit: March 14, 2009, 07:10:57 AM by Dundonnell »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: William Schuman (1910-1992)
« Reply #41 on: March 14, 2009, 07:00:58 AM »
To clear this up-

Delos issued Schwarz and the Seattle SO in a recording of Schuman's 5th Symphony(Symphony for Strings) made in 1992. Naxos have reissued this coupled with a new recording of Symphony No.3 made in 2005.

The Naxos recordings of Symphony No. 4 coupled with No.9 'Le fosse ardeatine' and No.7 coupled with No.10 'American Muse' are new recordings made between 2003 and 2004. The intention is clearly to issue a complete set-which means that Nos. 6 and 8 will be issued together at some point. If they were also recorded around the same time as the others I am surprised that Naxos has not yet issued the cd but who knows-the ways of record companies ae often very strange!


Thanks Colin.
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Offline Guido

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Re: William Schuman (1910-1992)
« Reply #42 on: March 16, 2009, 08:54:31 AM »
Just listened to the Schumann violin concerto - as people have been saying it's a fantastic piece with beautiful lyric sweep and a powerful sense of drama. Must look out this Rochberg concerto too!
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Offline Guido

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Re: William Schuman (1910-1992)
« Reply #43 on: March 18, 2009, 04:38:46 AM »
Addicted to the violin concerto now and thirsting for more - which Symphonies are most similar to this piece? I have heard no.3 but wasn't as enthralled as most other as seem to be.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2009, 04:51:27 AM by Guido »
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Offline Dundonnell

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Re: William Schuman (1910-1992)
« Reply #44 on: March 18, 2009, 09:40:33 AM »
Addicted to the violin concerto now and thirsting for more - which Symphonies are most similar to this piece? I have heard no.3 but wasn't as enthralled as most other as seem to be.

The Third Symphony is Schuman's most famous, is the work with which he achieved his real breakthrough and is often regarded as one of the 'Great American Thirds'(along with the Roy Harris 3rd and Copland 3rd). I am less keen on the 4th-although some people esteem it highly-while the 5th is an intense Symphony for Strings.

The three most powerful, dark, gripping works are Nos. 6, 7 and 8. Unfortunately Nos. 6 and 8 are the two as yet unreleased by Naxos. No.6 can only be found either in a mono recording by the Philadelphia Orchestra under Ormandy  from 1953 re-released on an Albany disc coupled with the Harris 7th and the Piston 4th or on a Koch disc(possibly difficult to find) played by the New Zealand SO and again coupled with the Harris 7th. No.8 is only available in a Sony recording of the New York Philharmonic under Bernstein from 1962(albeit an incandescent performance) coupled with Nos. 3 and 5.
At least, however, No.7 is on Naxos(coupled with No.10). If I had to recommend one of these three symphonies I would probably go for No.6.

Offline Guido

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Re: William Schuman (1910-1992)
« Reply #45 on: March 18, 2009, 10:27:15 AM »
Cheers for the info! I think I'll order that Bernstein recording with the fifth and eighth (and third). The Ormandy recording of the sixth is out of print and is £38 on Amazon!! I'll have to look out for it. Koch recording also out of print, but slightly more reasonable.
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: William Schuman (1910-1992)
« Reply #46 on: December 06, 2009, 02:41:42 AM »
Just a plug for the new Naxos CD of William Schuman's 6th Symphony - a great, visionary score which I find darkly moving. Not as immediately appealing as Symphony No 3 perhaps, but just as fine a work IMHO.  The couplings are very good too, including 'The New England Triptych' and the powerful 1943 'Prayer in Time of War' which was new to me.  I have seen Schuman's 6th Symphony described as a 'Requiem for the 20th Century' in the notes accompanying the Ormandy CD - an appropriate comment on the gravity and eloquence of this fine work.  This is the best version since Ormandy and the recording is much more recent.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2009, 02:44:30 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).

snyprrr

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Re: William Schuman (1910-1992)
« Reply #47 on: December 06, 2009, 02:24:57 PM »
This is the best version since Ormandy
Who else is there? :D

And how does it compare with Ormandy in terms of,...mmm...bladness and epic grandeur? I kinda like the "old" Ormandy sound for this piece, though, I can imagine the sonics here should put it over the top. I AM thankful that 6 & 8 weren't on the same cd, just for personal reasons.

The Prayer was on the Albany disc w/Harris & Becker, no?

And, how does the New England Triptych compare to,...mmm...who is there, Bernstein? Hanson? Of course, this IS Schwarz country after all.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: William Schuman (1910-1992)
« Reply #48 on: December 07, 2009, 03:27:32 AM »
Who else is there? :D

Hugh Keelan, NZSO (Koch).

Yes, Schuman's 'Prayer' is on the old Albany CD.

The new CD has a similar gravity, eloquence and urgency as the old Ormandy version of Symphony No 6 and the recording is much better.  I found the performance of the 'New England Triptych' to be equally convincing, although I have not played the other recordings for some time.  Basically, this CD gripped me throughout and I greatly enjoyed all three works.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

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Offline Benji

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Re: William Schuman (1910-1992)
« Reply #49 on: December 07, 2009, 11:47:15 AM »
Hugh Keelan, NZSO (Koch).

Ah, but is that as expensive as all the other OOP Koch discs with the NZSO? Some great stuff from that orchestra on Koch - Rózsa orchestral music, the Randall Thompson symphonies (love those!), and on Koch but not the NZSO: Bernard Herrmann's symphony coupled with Schuman's Triptych (my favourite Schuman work in fact, or perhaps In Praise of Shaan, I can't decide).

Sorry, mostly off topic there.  :-X

I'll have a listen to the 6th and see how I like it. I think it was a Gramophone or BBC Music mag review that said they liked the music... but could imagine a better performance. I don't think they like Schwarz. Doesn't seem to be well-liked in this country at all, poor man!

Offline vandermolen

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Re: William Schuman (1910-1992)
« Reply #50 on: December 08, 2009, 04:44:17 AM »
Ah, but is that as expensive as all the other OOP Koch discs with the NZSO? Some great stuff from that orchestra on Koch - Rózsa orchestral music, the Randall Thompson symphonies (love those!), and on Koch but not the NZSO: Bernard Herrmann's symphony coupled with Schuman's Triptych (my favourite Schuman work in fact, or perhaps In Praise of Shaan, I can't decide).

Sorry, mostly off topic there.  :-X

I'll have a listen to the 6th and see how I like it. I think it was a Gramophone or BBC Music mag review that said they liked the music... but could imagine a better performance. I don't think they like Schwarz. Doesn't seem to be well-liked in this country at all, poor man!

OT

Must listen again to the Randall Thompson symphonies and yes, the Herrmann Symphony/Schuman New Englant Triptych is a great disc.
"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).

karlhenning

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Re: William Schuman (1910-1992)
« Reply #51 on: December 08, 2009, 04:48:18 AM »
Hugh Keelan, NZSO (Koch).

Yes, Schuman's 'Prayer' is on the old Albany CD.

The new CD has a similar gravity, eloquence and urgency as the old Ormandy version of Symphony No 6 and the recording is much better.  I found the performance of the 'New England Triptych' to be equally convincing, although I have not played the other recordings for some time.  Basically, this CD gripped me throughout and I greatly enjoyed all three works.

This Prayer is a reissued recording, then? (Or do I misunderstand?)  Sounds like a recording I will want to investigate nevertheless.
 
FWIW, the New England Triptych strikes me as a light work which poses no great problems to Getting It Right.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: William Schuman (1910-1992)
« Reply #52 on: December 08, 2009, 04:49:21 AM »
"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).

snyprrr

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Re: William Schuman (1910-1992)
« Reply #53 on: April 02, 2010, 09:41:12 AM »
SQs 2, 3, & 5/Lydian SQ (Harmonia Mundi (1992)



This is the classic HM release, which I just got on Ebay for $8 (which is important since it runs @$40 on Amazon!). I enjoyed SQ No.3 from the old Kohon/VoxBox, but, of course, this recording is, well, I think it's one of the most sensuous (sensual?) SQ recordings I've ever heard. The viola sound is drool worthy. The whole image is so intimate, yet there is ample acoustic. I don't know, can anyone else witness for me here?

I AM SAVING THE 1985 NO.5 for a cozy evening here shortly, but I was so impressed with No.2 (1937) that I'd like to lift it up as the best Hindemith styled SQ I've yet heard. Schuman's integrated style is very smooth and sophisticated, even at such an early stage (really, No.3 only came 2 years later). I don't know, as I was listening, I could just feel the pre war American years. This recording could become a sentimental favorite.

Really, I'm just in love with this recording. I've been looking at it since it came out, always convinced that there was nobility in spades within it's grooves. Boy, do I need a witness!

Offline Brewski

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Re: William Schuman (1910-1992)
« Reply #54 on: April 02, 2010, 10:08:34 AM »
That CD of the three quartets is excellent.  I haven't heard it in awhile, but recall being immediately taken with it.  It's a shame Schuman seems to be on the "unfashionable" side at the moment, given the high quality of his work. 

Just last night, coincidentally, I was at a superb concert with three of his works, marking what would have been his 100th birthday.  Leonard Slatkin and the Juilliard Orchestra did a great job with the Circus Overture, Violin Concerto and Third Symphony, and all of these should be played more often.  Schuman's music is really well crafted, definitely rooted in that mid-20th century American style that seems to be off the radar for many people at the moment.  (As David Ross noted, Tilson Thomas is another fan; Bernstein was another.)

In any case, now I need to revisit that quartets recording, with last night still in my ears.  Glad you are enjoying it!

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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: William Schuman (1910-1992)
« Reply #55 on: May 13, 2010, 09:59:24 PM »
Thoughts on re-hearing Schuman

I hadn't listened to this composer in years. Since this year is his 100th anniversary (and curiously, the 200th anniversary of his near-namesake), I pulled out the Bernstein recording of the 3rd and 8th Symphonies and the Symphony for Strings and have been listening to it this week.

Listening to the 3rd Symphony for the first time in ages reminded me how one's listening habits can change one's perceptions of music. I always liked this piece for its brashness and bursting-at-the-seams vitality. Now, after immersing myself in Baroque and late Renaissance music, I hear it from a new angle - Schuman uses these ancient forms (passacaglia, fugue, etc.) but loads them with an expression that is aggressively modern. This creates a fascinating tension between the rigor and gravity of the form and the dissonance and force of the substance.

The String Symphony made a similar impression, though it is more restrained and modest in its dimensions. The heavily contrapuntal nature of the three movements again brought ancient music to mind, though the overall sound of the piece puts it squarely in the mainstream of mid-century symphonism.

The 8th Symphony is still a puzzler. When I first heard it years ago, I was put off by its excessively dour sound. Also, it seemed to contain a major structural flaw: the first two movements sound too much alike, so you get over 20 minutes of unrelieved gloom before the finale comes thundering in. For these reasons, I still have problems with it, although I like parts of the symphony. I know this piece has fans here: what do you hear in it?
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Offline drogulus

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Re: William Schuman (1910-1992)
« Reply #56 on: May 14, 2010, 12:40:17 PM »


The 8th Symphony is still a puzzler. When I first heard it years ago, I was put off by its excessively dour sound. Also, it seemed to contain a major structural flaw: the first two movements sound too much alike, so you get over 20 minutes of unrelieved gloom before the finale comes thundering in. For these reasons, I still have problems with it, although I like parts of the symphony. I know this piece has fans here: what do you hear in it?

      This music is so exciting and the mood is so tense that the Lento > Largo aspect never even impinges on my consciousness unless my attention is drawn to it by a comment like yours. I guess this falls under the exception rule, that anything brilliantly done can violate the rule forbidding it, if there is a rule. There are a number of points in the movements where there are climaxes as well as faster passages, so it's not all unrelieved gloom, just slightly relieved gloom.

      You're right that this is not the ideal way to proceed. Since I've loved this symphony since long before I had any fixed idea of what a proper structure was supposed to be, I didn't really bother about it. I did notice the anomaly, but figured that it didn't matter.
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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: William Schuman (1910-1992)
« Reply #57 on: June 25, 2010, 11:11:16 PM »
Just a plug for the new Naxos CD of William Schuman's 6th Symphony - a great, visionary score which I find darkly moving.

I just got this disc, and had my first listen of the 6th Symphony. My first impression is Wow, what a powerhouse score. There is a great deal of angst in it (reminds me of Berg, late Mahler or even Pettersson at times). However, the structure, with its series of contrasting episodes, keeps everything tight and in focus, so I never felt the music was meandering or wallowing in the anguish. Maybe not as immediately appealing or as flashy as the 3rd, but in terms of structure, it may actually be superior.
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: William Schuman (1910-1992)
« Reply #58 on: June 25, 2010, 11:38:35 PM »
I just got this disc, and had my first listen of the 6th Symphony. My first impression is Wow, what a powerhouse score. There is a great deal of angst in it (reminds me of Berg, late Mahler or even Pettersson at times). However, the structure, with its series of contrasting episodes, keeps everything tight and in focus, so I never felt the music was meandering or wallowing in the anguish. Maybe not as immediately appealing or as flashy as the 3rd, but in terms of structure, it may actually be superior.

I very much agree with this anaysis, I think that No 6 is my favourite work by William Schuman - the ending I find very moving and I like one critics description of this work as 'A Requiem for the 20th Century'. No 3 is more immediately appealing, and a fine score, but I think that No 6 may be the greater work. The new Naxos is very good - the best since Ormandy.
"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 Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: William Schuman (1910-1992)
« Reply #59 on: June 26, 2010, 01:00:04 AM »
The new Naxos is very good - the best since Ormandy.

Not that there's a lot of competition out there  :D Still, I'm very pleased with the production - it sounds great (quite up-front and "present" without being annoying), and the orchestra plays very well. Kudos all around.

I look forward to delving into this symphony more. Another impression I have is that Schuman managed to turn his compositional deficiencies (a certain clunkiness and dourness in his style) to his advantage. This is why I already like the 6th much better than the 8th, which is marred by a structure that emphasizes the heavy, dour nature of his style too much and lacks sufficient contrast.

Regarding the "requiem" aspect - that didn't really occur to me, as the symphony's general mood is one of struggle rather than elegy and reflection for the most part. But of course other listeners might hear it differently than I do.
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