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Classical - Released October 6, 2017 | Chandos

Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Jazz
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Classical - Released July 25, 2006 | Naxos

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Classical - Released January 4, 2019 | Chandos

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The influx of conductors from the Eastern Bloc into Britain has been accompanied by a good deal of music from the former Soviet countries, not all of it defined by the poles of Shostakovich (pushing boundaries and suffering for it) and the likes of Tikhon Khrennikov. The Symphony No. 3 in B minor, Op. 50, of Ukrainian Boris Lyatoshynsky, for instance, does not fall easily into progressive/conservative categories. The contours of Lyatoshynsky's career roughly followed that of Shostakovich, with experimental tendencies in the 1920s and '30s shelved in favor of folk music and national material as Soviet cultural commissars clamped down. The Symphony No. 3 is subtitled "Peace shall defeat war: To the twenty-fifth anniversary of the October Revolution." Regardless of the fact that the fruits of the October Revolution have been thrown in the dustbin (and that the symphony was not completed until 1951), the work retains its kick. For one thing, it's a fine orchestral showpiece, and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchesta under Ukrainian conductor Kirill Karabits play it to the hilt. This includes the limpid string work of the slow movement. For another, as with Shostakovich, the nationalistic stuff has a tendency to write emotional checks it can't quite cash. Sample the finale, which is as tonal as any musical administrator of the day could wish, but which has an intriguing undercurrent of tension. This was probably the reason the work was criticized after its first performance, whereupon Lyatoshynsky rewrote the finale. The original version is played here. The symphonic poem Grazhyna, Op. 58, that closes the program is based on a poem by the Polish patriotic poet Adam Mickiewicz; it has a similar blood-and-guts quality underlaid with a layer of greater complexity. This work makes for a fine evening at the symphony, and it makes listeners want to hear more from Lyatoshynsky. © TiVo
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Classical - Released November 18, 2008 | Naxos

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While Aaron Copland's Symphony No. 3 is viewed as being one of his most characteristic masterworks, his earlier efforts in the form of symphony -- including at least four separate projects -- are not nearly as well celebrated. In Naxos' Copland: Dance Symphony, conductor Marin Alsop, known for her special facility with "classic" American works of this kind, leads the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in what might be termed Copland's symphonic "outtakes," symphonies that Copland undertook, but that really didn't make it to the mantle of the Symphony No. 3. For Copland, the unnumbered Dance Symphony (1925) was a matter of damage control, an attempt to rescue music written for his early ballet Grohg (1922-1925) that had no hope of being staged; Copland remarked that he didn't number it "because it is really not a symphony in the traditional sense." However, it won him an RCA Victor-sponsored competition in 1929, Copland's first such honor, and has gained some middleweight following as a work; it has been recorded by Copland himself, Antal Dorati, and a live recording of Leonard Bernstein leading the work surfaced long after Bernstein died. Alsop seems to have prepared it well and provides it with a lovely sense of shape not found in other recordings; she has referred to its palpitating conclusion, "Dance of Mockery," as being like "Billy the Kid meets Jaws" and Alsop's enthusiasm about it carries over into her interpretation. More readily recognizable as Copland is the Short Symphony, numbered as "No. 2" (1933), in which his trademark rhythmic vocabulary comes into contact with a slightly more tart harmonic profile than might be readily associated with him, although this short, multi-movement work contains some ideas later recycled into Appalachian Spring. This, too, has gained some traction, though mostly in the last decades of the twentieth century when the complex rhythms Copland calls for were more germane to standard orchestral performance; in 1951, Copland wrote to conductor William Strickland, "the Short Symphony is frightfully difficult and should not be attempted unless you have plenty of rehearsal time." It appears that whatever the Short Symphony might need, it has gotten here, as this is the best of the three performances on this Naxos disc; one can really feel the craftsmanship and love that went into it, and it really packs a punch. The toughest nut to crack is the Symphony No. 1 (1928), which is merely a recasting of the Symphony for organ and orchestra into standard orchestral garb, a stopgap against the odd instrumentation of the source work; Copland had no way of knowing that it ultimately would be the original that would catch on. Even though Alsop does a really fine job in representing this symphony with its best face on -- it is an exceedingly rare work for Copland, only recorded twice before -- this is clearly the weak sister among the three; it takes so long to get off the ground, and the noisy, Stravinskian finale -- while in itself exciting -- is out of balance with the rest of the work. Alsop has expressed her fascination for Copland's off-brand orchestral music, and one can be grateful for Naxos' Copland: Dance Symphony for representing Copland's early orchestral works in such a clear cut and accomplished fashion, hitting the high points where they might be found. However, Copland's struggle to produce a decent symphony was best realized in the Symphony No. 3 and his talent overall best suited to ballet; that doesn't limit our perception of him in the way it might some other composers whose works for the stage tend to minimize efforts in other mediums. While posterity might not be wrong in elevating Copland's Symphony No. 3 above the others, what Alsop has achieved here is likely the best possible representation of what remains, and as such, commends itself to anyone who wants to know more about this part of Aaron Copland's legacy. © TiVo
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Classical - Released August 1, 2005 | Naxos

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Unlike his insouciant, cabaret-styled music for The Threepenny Opera, Kurt Weill's Symphony No. 1 (1921) and his Symphony No. 2 (1933-1934) seem more dutifully observant of the European Classical tradition and perhaps a little straight-jacketed by formal obligations. This is not to say that these symphonic essays are dull or artificial -- far from it. To the contrary, there are many charming melodies in the Symphony No. 2 that will remind one of Weill's most tender ballads, and aspects of his biting sarcasm crop up in the acrid dissonances of the modernist Symphony No. 1. Weill's symphonies have not yet become staples of the repertoire, perhaps because they seem too stiffly worked out, or are hard to reconcile with the composer of "Mack the Knife"; but both works show serious intentions, and are fascinating attempts at the form, suggestive of what Weill might have accomplished had he continued composing in the genre. The reliable Marin Alsop and the solid Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra deliver fully satisfying performances of these underplayed works, and also give a delightful rendition of Robert Russell Bennett's concert suite, Lady in the Dark-Symphonic Nocturne, which is based on songs from the 1940 musical by Weill, Moss Hart, and Ira Gershwin. Naxos' sound quality is superb. © TiVo
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Classical - Released May 1, 2005 | Naxos

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Despite the increased popularity of George Dyson's long-neglected Symphony in G (1937), this expansive piece seems to be admired more for its accessible tonality and evocative Romanticism than for any thematic originality, emotional depth, or inherent greatness. Often compared to or contrasted with the symphonies of Walton and Vaughan Williams, Dyson's single essay in the form is considerably less taut and muscular than either of his contemporaries' works, and rather meandering in its washes of sensuous orchestral color, lush chromatic harmonies, and mildly charming melodies. Somewhat more enjoyable for their spontaneity, formal clarity, compactness, and lack of pretense are the festive overture At the Tabard Inn (1943), based on themes from Dyson's choral work, The Canterbury Pilgrims, and the Concerto da Chiesa for string orchestra (1949), based on traditional hymns; both works are more direct in thematic development, tighter in construction, stronger in expression, and perhaps more deserving of attention in the ongoing Dyson revival than the overrated symphony. Under the direction of David Lloyd-Jones, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra sounds sumptuous and often exuberant on this 2005 release from Naxos, and the sound quality is rich and detailed. © TiVo
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Classical - Released September 12, 2002 | Naxos

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Classical - Released February 1, 2005 | Naxos

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Like Brahms, Alan Rawsthorne came late to the symphony, and approached it with a high-minded concern for structure and a mature sense of thematic development and internal unity. In Rawsthorne's practiced hands, the form is shaped along Classical lines, with only slight changes in the layout of the traditional four movements. Yet his music is restless, rugged, and muscular, and quite modern in its free uses of tonality. The pugnacious Symphony No. 1 (1950) is tight in construction and direct in argumentation, without any extraneous material to retard its headlong progress. The short Symphony No. 2, "A Pastoral Symphony" (1959), is more evocative than programmatic, yet Rawsthorne's lyrical expressions still have the propulsion and dramatic contrasts required in a symphony. The vocal finale, though, seems tacked on, and soprano Charlotte Ellet's rather operatic performance is a little disconcerting. The Symphony No. 3 (1964) is the most expansive and harmonically daring, and of the three works most successful in reconciling the modernist vernacular with symphonic discourse -- without an obvious tonal scheme but with a real sense of departure and arrival. The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Lloyd-Jones, is energetic and spectacular at the climaxes, and Naxos provides its usual fine sound quality. © TiVo
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Classical - Released November 6, 2004 | Naxos

Booklet
Naxos' American Classics series has here gotten around to two Philip Glass symphonies not long after their premiere recordings on Nonesuch. Philip Glass: Symphonies No. 2 and 3 combines two works from the 1990s that are more or less not in the vein that made Glass popular, which is a good thing if the insistent patterning and repetition of his most famous works, such as Koyaanisqatsi and Einstein on the Beach, drives one crazy. As the 1990s progressed, Glass seemed to have worked through the tentative aspects found in early purely orchestral works such as his Violin Concerto and The Canyon into a formal approach that is in accord with his distinctive voice and artistic aims. Glass also introduces into these works, particularly in the Symphony No. 2, some stimuli from his formative education with Nadia Boulanger, a developmental twist no one could have predicted. So these Philip Glass symphonies are substantive pieces that maintain a good sense of forward momentum and variety of ideas. As the two symphonies fit together on one CD, it is desirable to have them that way, and these performances by Marin Alsop and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra are very, very good. The orchestra is keenly balanced, sustains a relaxed sound that never coagulates into soupiness, and the tempi are constant without being rigid. Solo parts are heard very clearly; Naxos' recording is a stunner, establishing a sense of perspective that is right in step with the musical texture. The disc also has surprisingly good liner notes by Daniel Felsenfeld that tell you everything you need to know about these pieces without making grandiose claims or over-intellectualizing what is intriguing and easily appealing music. If you are of a mind to hear Philip Glass' music in his mature style, than this Naxos American Classics disc makes a particularly fulfilling choice, both economically and artistically. © TiVo
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Classical - Released August 30, 2003 | Naxos

Booklet
Famously unapologetic for bucking the avant-garde, Ned Rorem was largely ostracized by the new music intelligentsia of the 1950s, and his three symphonies from that decade were unfairly neglected. They remained so, even when neo-Romanticism became fashionable again toward the end of the twentieth century. This 2003 release from Naxos at last gives these remarkable symphonies the attention and care they deserve. José Serebrier and the Bournemouth Sinfonietta go to extraordinary lengths to convey both the vigor and lyricism of these pieces, and render them with the balance and clarity that are constants in Rorem's work. The Symphony No. 3 is the most fully realized, and resilient rhythms and cogent structures give this work its backbone. Yet it also has room for lush orchestration and gorgeous melodies, the sine qua non of Rorem's emotionally compelling style. Serenely lyrical, the Symphony No. 1 is the gentlest of the three, and expansive, song-like lines dominate throughout, even over the flurries of the boisterous Allegro finale. The Symphony No. 2, angular in its melodies and often pugnaciously percussive, is the most rugged, and its strong character is only briefly softened by the nostalgic Tranquillo movement. The excellent sound of the recording captures all the details of these fresh and exciting performances. © TiVo
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Classical - Released October 17, 2004 | Naxos

Booklet
Like Steve Reich and Philip Glass, John Adams has developed minimalism into a more expressive and versatile language than it promised in the 1970s, when pattern music was at its height but also at its most rigorous and severe. Judging from the works on this 2004 Naxos release, Adams has progressed from the limitations of static repetition, staggered loops, and strict additive cycles to a much freer and personal style; his music sometimes features identifiable minimalist techniques but is more often dominated by an emotional lyricism and nostalgia that tend strongly toward neo-Romanticism. Adams' earlier interests are quite apparent in the energetic flurries of Shaker Loops (1978, revised in 1983) and the exciting rhythmic propulsion of Short Ride in a Fast Machine (1986); yet through their colorful orchestration and comparatively free use of ostinati, both works seem worlds away from the hard-edged sounds or restricted parameters of hardcore minimalism. The dark, evocative setting of Walt Whitman's poem "The Wound-Dresser" (1988) and the mysterious "Berceuse élégiaque" (1991) are even more liberated from minimalist constraints, and seem rather more influenced by Copland than either Glass or Reich. Baritone Nathan Gunn and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, directed by Marin Alsop, serve Adams well on this intelligently programmed album, and Naxos provides fine sound. © TiVo
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Classical - Released April 30, 2007 | Naxos

Booklet
The Heroes Symphony of Philip Glass is one of two symphonies he wrote based on albums by David Bowie (the other is the Low Symphony). This recording by Marin Alsop, one of Britain's (and now America's) most talked-about conductors, suggests that the idea has been successful enough to move beyond the usual Glass orbit and into conventional symphonic repertory. Glass has always had a strong following among pop listeners, and part of the interest of these compositions lies in the unique crossover terrain they explore -- ironically, with Glass (whose versions are all instrumental) coming out as slightly more conventional than his pop counterparts. The Bowie album was recorded in the late '70s in Berlin with pop synthesizer experimenter Brian Eno. Glass fills out the songs with repeated musical figures, mostly assigned to the strings, replacing and expanding the guitar and keyboard riffs of the original songs. One can see why Bowie liked this music, which remains close to the harmonies of his original songs without seeming at all like an arrangement in the conventional sense. One can also see why the canny Marin Alsop might have wanted to record the work; she has been associated with several unusual crossover projects (including the Too Hot to Handel Messiah), and this one is unlike any other classical composition modeled on pop material. The Bournemouth Symphony achieves the hypnotic smoothness necessary for Glass throughout. The opening orchestral piece called The Light is a less distinctive Glass work, although rendered equally well. It refers to a famous scientific experiment having to do with light, but it would be surprising if any listener uncoached by notes succeeded in identifying which one. © TiVo
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Classical - Released March 6, 2012 | Naxos

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Classical - Released December 4, 1997 | Naxos

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Classical - Released November 1, 2010 | Onyx Classics

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Classical - Released February 1, 2002 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released March 25, 1999 | Naxos

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Classical - Released May 25, 2010 | Naxos

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Classical - Released January 27, 2009 | Naxos

Booklet
It has only been since the turn of the twenty first century that Leopold Stokowski's transcriptions for orchestra -- particularly those of Johann Sebastian Bach's music -- are an important part of the orchestral literature. Before that, opinions regarding them mainly ranged from necessary evil, owing to the popularity of certain ones, to that of wholesale bowdlerization, abuses committed against unwitting composers unable to object to such treatment because they were dead. However, the value of Stokowski's transcriptions as a kind of personal outlet of creativity for a great conductor -- who couldn't seem to get his game on as a composer himself -- is gradually being recognized; their worth from the perspective of pure, high-quality orchestration has never been in doubt. Conductor José Serebrier was one of Stokowski's rare followers among conductors and has never had a problem with reviving his master's orchestral transcriptions. Naxos' Stokowski: Bach Transcriptions 2 features Serebrier and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in what appears to be a comprehensive traversal of Stokowski's output in terms of transcriptions for orchestra, although if so, Naxos doesn't seem to be in a big hurry to get it all out; this 2009 release is separated from its predecessor by no less than three years. While the first volume combined some moderately familiar material with some highly specialized stuff, this one gets off the ground with the big guns: Stokowski's famous transcription of Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor. It is a big, walloping performance, as well, and Naxos' sound matches the appropriate ambience, though one might wish it had a bit more power as it is going up against numerous audiophile quality recordings of this piece, including old ones by Stokowski himself rescued from the mothballs and souped up in new formats. The disc continues with nine more Bach transcriptions, with a further tenth tacked onto the end, along with a miscellany reserved for the second half: Palestrina, Byrd, Jeremiah Clarke, Boccherini, Mattheson, and Haydn all served up Stokowski style. It is a very rich, calorie-laden menu, and for those who insist on textual purity, historical accuracy, and period instruments in music of the Baroque and Classical eras, this will be like a peanut allergy. But for those who enjoy the rich tapestries of the orchestra and enjoy Stokowski's blend already, this should prove highly satisfying; one thing Serebrier does very well is to turn corners the way Stokowski did, a specific kind of rubato at the ends of phrases, which is partly intuitive and Serebrier knows how to finesse that well. Naxos' Stokowski: Bach Transcriptions 2 is a fitting homage from Serebrier to his mentor and, by virtue of its program, may prove more generally appealing than the first volume was. © TiVo