Author Topic: Naxos American Classics  (Read 1372 times)

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Offline vers la flamme

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Naxos American Classics
« on: April 04, 2020, 03:53:45 PM »
I really enjoy the "American Classics" series on Naxos. It's pretty much what one would expect, classical music from American composers, but they cover a lot of ground: from Cage, Carter & Feldman, to Copland, Gershwin, & Bernstein, to dozens of lesser known composers. All those I've heard are great.

That being said, I don't have very many of them. In an effort to explore more American music, I was wondering if anyone here wanted to share some of their favorites in the Naxos "American Classics" series.

As for me, I really like the Marin Alsop Bernstein discs that I have: Symphonies 1 & 2, & Chichester Psalms. I also really like Alsop's Samuel Barber symphonies disc. I recently got Cage's Sonatas & Interludes w/ Boris Berman. Looking forward to exploring that.

Anyone been listening to any entries in this series lately?

Online JBS

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2020, 05:15:49 PM »
I am not sure if they are officially part of the American Classics series, but the Pacifica Quartet recordings of Carter's String Quartets almost rate a "must have".

You seem to have said you only have one CD of Alsop's Barber recordings. If that is so, I urge you to get the rest.

There are Naxos  sets of William Schuman's symphonies and Ned Rorem's works conducted by Jose Serebrier. I am not sure about their availability, but  I would suggest those are worth checking into.

[That said, my chief attraction to Naxos is their issues of living composers. I find it to be a good way of finding out if I like them.

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Offline André

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2020, 05:17:56 PM »
Also, Hovhanness, Diamond, Creston, Piston. The classics  8)

Offline MusicTurner

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2020, 05:26:01 PM »
I've collected a good deal of Schuman, Rochberg, Hovhaness, Wuorinen, Cowell and Carter in particular. Also a few others, such as Crawford-Seeger, Gloria Coates orchestral (skipped the quartets), Schwantner (Distant Runes), Copland, Cage (S&I), etc.

I think I should go for supplementary Piston and Diamond in particular, if I want more.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2020, 05:34:10 PM by MusicTurner »

Online JBS

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2020, 05:34:17 PM »
I've collected a good deal of Schuman, Rochberg, Hovhaness, Wuorinen, Cowell and Carter in particular. Also a few others, such as Crawford-Seeger, Gloria Coates orchestral (skipped the quartets), Schwantner (Distant Runes), Copland etc.
I think I should go for supplementary Piston and Diamond in particular, if I want more.

Re Coates: yes to her stuff, including her chamber works. Although she's one of the "living composers" I was referring to, that's why I didn't specify her.

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Offline MusicTurner

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2020, 05:36:47 PM »
Re Coates: yes to her stuff, including her chamber works. Although she's one of the "living composers" I was referring to, that's why I didn't specify her.

I understand, but regarding the quartets, I only found one tiny of them not having the 'glissandi-style', as far as I remember ...

Online JBS

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2020, 05:42:24 PM »
I understand, but regarding the quartets, I only found one tiny of them not having the 'glissandi-style', as far as I remember ...

Glissandi style?

Wait....
 :-[
I got myself mixed up. I was thinking of Joan Tower.

Sorry about that.

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Offline MusicTurner

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2020, 05:45:44 PM »
Ok, I haven't really heard the music of Joan Tower, I own a Piano Concerto on another label  though.

Offline 71 dB

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2020, 08:09:00 PM »
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Spatial distortion is a serious problem deteriorating headphone listening.
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Offline steve ridgway

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2020, 08:29:51 PM »
Crumb.

Offline Maestro267

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2020, 01:39:54 AM »
I have quite a few of these discs.

John Corigliano (Symphony No. 1 (c/w Torke, Copland), Circus Maximus, A Dylan Thomas Trilogy)
Michael Daugherty (Metropolis Symphony, Philadelphia Stories, UFO, Fire and Blood, Motor City Triptych)
Leonard Bernstein (Mass, the symphonies, Chichester Psalms)
Samuel Barber (Symphonies, Knoxville, 3 Essays, Toccata Festiva, Cello Concerto)

I also have the original Delos issue of David Diamond's Symphonies 2 & 4 that was later reissued on Naxos. Among others.

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2020, 02:36:42 AM »
I really enjoy the "American Classics" series on Naxos. It's pretty much what one would expect, classical music from American composers, but they cover a lot of ground: from Cage, Carter & Feldman, to Copland, Gershwin, & Bernstein, to dozens of lesser known composers. All those I've heard are great.

That being said, I don't have very many of them. In an effort to explore more American music, I was wondering if anyone here wanted to share some of their favorites in the Naxos "American Classics" series.

As for me, I really like the Marin Alsop Bernstein discs that I have: Symphonies 1 & 2, & Chichester Psalms. I also really like Alsop's Samuel Barber symphonies disc. I recently got Cage's Sonatas & Interludes w/ Boris Berman. Looking forward to exploring that.

Anyone been listening to any entries in this series lately?

I happened to listen to this one yesterday;



which is very good.  Not the best best version of the Violin Concerto perhaps but still very good and Souvenirs here - OK its quite a light weight piece - gets a lovely performance.  Also listened to a recent release of the 3 Gould Symphonettes;



Again quite light repertoire - and I love this music - but this performance is really quite disappointing.  Perfectly well played by a good orchestra (they sound terrific on the new recording of Bernstein Mass for instance) but here its a routine play through.  Most of the blame is with conductor Arthur Fagen who just under-characterises everything.  If you listen to any other recorded version of these works the personality jumps out.  Disappointing as Gould deserves being wider known and this is a good/intelligent/unique coupling of some of his most accessible music.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2020, 04:47:19 AM by Roasted Swan »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2020, 03:59:59 AM »
Also, Hovhanness, Diamond, Creston, Piston. The classics  8)
Agree with all these (Diamond's Third Symphony is a particular favourite). Here are some others that I have enjoyed:
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"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 vers la flamme

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2020, 05:30:37 AM »
I appreciate all the participation, everyone. I ought to hear more of the Barber series (I also have the Piano Concerto, which I forgot to mention, but it is great!) plus the Carter quartets with the great Pacifica Quartet, recordings which appear to have been sanctioned by the composer.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2020, 07:04:43 AM »
This is one of my favourite discs of the series. Schuman's 'Symphony No.6' once described as a 'Requiem for the 20th Century' is a darkly impressive work. The other works on the CD are great as well:
"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 Daverz

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2020, 12:29:03 PM »
Jack Gallagher


Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2020, 01:19:41 PM »
I think my favorites have all been mentioned at least once. If I had to choose a Top 3:

Carter Quartets
Schuman Symphony #6
Rochberg Symphony #1

I could also mention the Piston Syms. 2 & 6, but that's actually a repackaged Delos recording.
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Online JBS

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2020, 01:56:18 PM »
This is one of my favourite discs of the series. Schuman's 'Symphony No.6' once described as a 'Requiem for the 20th Century' is a darkly impressive work. The other works on the CD are great as well:


The full Schuman set can be had rather cheaply


It does not include the Violin Concerto

The Rorem is even cheaper



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Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2020, 02:49:18 PM »
What is Schuman's music all about? I'm asking because I've heard a few works of his—In Praise of Shahn & To Thee Old Cause, on a disc conducted by Bernstein, and I couldn't make any sense of them.

Offline Daverz

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Re: Naxos American Classics
« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2020, 03:00:33 PM »
What is Schuman's music all about? I'm asking because I've heard a few works of his—In Praise of Shahn & To Thee Old Cause, on a disc conducted by Bernstein, and I couldn't make any sense of them.

Symphony No. 3 is his most famous piece.  Try Bernstein/Sony and crank the volume a bit.