George Antheil, the self-described “bad boy of music,” made a splash wherever he went. Before his better- known contemporaries George Gershwin and Darius Milhaud followed suit, Antheil incorporated the sounds and styles of jazz into classical music as early as 1922 with his first symphony “Zingaresca.” That year, Antheil announced that jazz was “one of the greatest artistic landmarks of modern art.”
In 1938, conductor Arthur Fiedler asked Walter Piston to collaborate on a ballet for the Boston Symphony, with choreographer Hans Wiener (better known as Jan Veen, the name Wiener took in 1942 to protest Hitler’s annexation of his home country, Austria). Piston, eager to work with both men, told Wiener afterwards, “Your approach to the Modern Dance gives such stimulating possibilities that it has been a great pleasure to collaborate with you in writing ‘The Incredible Flutist.’”
In 1922, composition teacher Nadia Boulanger introduced conductor Serge Koussevitzky to one of her young American students. From that moment, Koussevitzky and Aaron Copland forged a reciprocal collaboration that lasted until Koussevitzky’s death in 1951. Koussevitzky championed Copland’s music and taught him the nuances of conducting; in turn, Copland encouraged Koussevitzky to program American composers.
Total time: 01:05:25
|Original Recording Format|
Soundmirror, Boston USA
John Newton, Blanton Alspaugh
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland Oregon USA
|Recording Type & Bit Rate||
|Release Date||June 6, 2015|
[…] It’s a tall ask to expect the new recording to match up to these predecessors, but it does so to such an extent that I would be very happy to have just the new PentaTone. Though not usually regarded as in the first rank of world orchestras, the Oregon players are well up to the challenge of the LSO (Everest) and NYPO (Sony and DG). I don’t know if any splicings were made from rehearsals, but these are live recordings and very good they are, with no allowance needing to be made.
It would hardly be surprising if Kalmar had studied the earlier recordings which I’ve mentioned. Certainly his interpretation is broadly in line with Bernstein in particular: he’s a shade faster than the DG, but so was Bernstein on CBS, as was Copland himself. Every facet of this multi-faceted work is well captured on this new recording.
The PentaTone recording is excellent, especially in 24-bit form, and there’s a very useful set of notes in the booklet. […]
This new release is, without doubt, amongst the finest orchestral recordings I have heard for quite some time.
The DSD 5.0 Multichannel recording of this album engineered by the Soundmirror team (John Newton, Blanton Alspaugh and Mark Donahue) is of the highest quality. It has a strikingly realistic presence and ideal instrumental clarity whilst also marvelously capturing the ambience of the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall where these public performances were recorded in April 2013 (Piston and Antheil) and January 2014 (Copland).
This is an unmissable DSD recording that I have no hesitation in recommending unreservedly. 5-Stars for Performance, Stereo, and Multichannel Sonics.
The Whole Note
Walter Piston’s most popular work, the masterful and highly entertaining suite from his 1938 ballet The Incredible Flutist opens this fine recording with panache. A Jazz Symphony by George Antheil, was first performed at Carnegie Hall by the African-American Harlem Symphonietta directed by W.C. Handy. The orchestra responds to this swaggering score with great gusto, with notable contributions from a very tight brass section. Kalmar’s interpretation (of Aaron Copeland’s Third Symphony) eschews the tub-thumping often brought to this symphony with a highly sensitive and fluid reading which illuminates the complex thematic relationships between the four movements of this mighty work.
Pristinely captured in vivid sonics, these are live performances unmarred by any extraneous noises. This is a recording you’ll surely enjoy listening to repeatedly.
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