Music for a Time of War (2011)

Ives, Adams, Britten, Vaughan Williams

Oregon Symphony Orchestra

Carlos Kalmar

The Unanswered Question -Charles Ives penned “The Unanswered Question” in 1906 for a solitary probing trumpet, four quarrelsome woodwinds and only a small complement of strings. There is something quintessentially American about the notion of addressing the meaning of existence in under five minutes. But no one has accused it of being any the less for its economy of scale, and Ives’ innovations are still with us. 
Stasis is a problem for composers – like watching musical paint dry – so how to reveal timelessness? Ives devises a hushed, glacially revolving string chorale to express what he calls “the silence of the Druids”. A few years later Vaughan Williams began his Tallis “Fantasia” for strings in similar raptness. And today composers such as Adams, P.rt and Rautavaara still depict the infinite by using sustained strings.

 

 

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Oregon Symphony Orchestra

Since the Oregon Symphony was established more than 100 years ago, it has been recognized for its internationally acclaimed music directors, skilled performers, diverse programs and outstanding community services in education and regional touring. The Oregon Symphony now ranks among the largest orchestras in the nation and as one of the largest arts organizations in the Northwest, with an attendance of more than 225,000 people annually and 76 full-time musicians.

Carlos Kalmar

In May, 2011 he made his New York debut at Carnegie Hall with the Oregon Symphony as part of the inaugural Spring for Music festival. Both his imaginative program Music for a Time of War and the performance itself were hailed by critics in the New York Times, New Yorker magazine and Musical America, and the concert was recorded and released on the PentaTone label, subsequently earning two Grammy nominations (Best Orchestral Performance and Best Engineered). Under Kalmar’s guidance the orchestra recorded a second CD on the PentaTone label – “This England,” featuring works by Britten, Vaughan Williams, and Elgar.Carlos Kalmar is in his twelfth season as music director of the Oregon Symphony. He is also chief conductor and artistic director of the Spanish Radio/Television Orchestra and Choir in Madrid, and artistic director and principal conductor of the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago.

 

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Music for a Time of War (2011)

Ives, Adams, Britten, Vaughan Williams

Oregon Symphony Orchestra

    All Music -

Music for a Time of War, a PentaTone Classics album featuring the Oregon Symphony under Carlos Kalmar, brings together four powerful, moving compositions that in some way were inspired by war, conflict, and strife. While many albums bring together the wealth of music written during or immediately following the Second World War, Kalmar's program is more varied and is made quite successful because of it. The album opens with Ives' solitary, isolating Unanswered Question, which, though not directly brought about by a war, nevertheless addresses conflict within the score. Walt Whitman's wrenching account of his medical duties during the Civil War is set to great effect by John Adams. Baritone Sanford Sylvan's performance here is as gripping as Whitman's words: deep, resonant tone, clear diction, and a seamless blend with the orchestra characterise Sylvan's singing. More directly inspired by specific military events is militaristic and evocative Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem. The program closes with Vaughan Williams Fourth Symphony which, though completed in 1931, the composer denied it being any sort of depiction of military buildup. Perhaps in retrospect we find things in the sometimes savage, frenzied score that remind us of the events of the time. Throughout the album, Kalmar and the Oregon Symphony prove they can easily stand alongside the world's great orchestras. Their sound is powerful and engaging, their technique is polished and effortless, and the intricate control of balance makes listening quite enjoyable. This is certainly an album worth investigating. 4 1/2 Star Rating.

Mike D. Brownell from All Music[read full review]

Music for a Time of War (2011)

Ives, Adams, Britten, Vaughan Williams

Oregon Symphony Orchestra

Producer: Blanton Alspaugh
Recording Engineer: John Newton, Jesse Lewis (Soundmirror, Boston)
Recording location: Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland, Oregon
Recording Software: Merging
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64

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PTC5186393: Music for a Time of War
01:17:59   Select quality & channels above
Tracks.
1.
The Unanswered Question
Ives
00:05:46   Select quality & channels above
2.
The Wound-Dresser
Adams
00:20:18   Select quality & channels above
3.
Sinfonia da Requiem, Op.20 Mvt I - Lacrymosa
Britten
00:08:34   Select quality & channels above
4.
Sinfonia da Requiem, Op.20 Mvt II - Dies Irae
Britten
00:04:53   Select quality & channels above
5.
Sinfonia da Requiem, Op.20 Mvt III - Requiem Aeternam
Britten
00:05:36   Select quality & channels above
6.
Symphony No.4 in F Minor Mvt I - Allegro
Vaughan Williams
00:08:57   Select quality & channels above
7.
Symphony No.4 in F Minor Mvt II - Andante moderato
Vaughan Williams
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8.
Symphony No.4 in F Minor Mvt III - Scherzo (allegro molto)
Vaughan Williams
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9.
Symphony No.4 in F Minor Mvt IV - Finale con epilogo fugato
Vaughan Williams
00:08:32   Select quality & channels above

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