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Cat. No. CHAN 9848 Price: £5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 9848 - Composers in New York
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Available From: 14 September 2000
William Schuman discovered ‘serious’ music in the 1930s after experimenting with jazz and writing popular tunes for Tin Pan Alley. Apart from the celebrated American Festival Overture, Schuman was the composer of ten symphonies. The Symphony No. 5 (Symphony for Strings) was commissioned in 1943 by Serge Koussevitsky. It is cast in early classical form and has three movements. The limited dimensions and unified timbre of the string formation are compensated in this work by exquisite melodic inventiveness and imaginative part-writing.

Gould initially gained notoriety as a child prodigy, publishing his first composition when he was only six years old. His musical studies ended abruptly with the Great Depression, and the young composer was forced to earn a living by playing in vaudevilles and movie houses. The hallmark of Gould’s compositions is a complete mastery of the art of orchestration. Gould said he had always been stimulated by the vernacular, the sound of spirituals and jazz. The Spirituals for Strings dates from 1959.

After an initial flirtation with music in a symphonic jazz style, Copland refined his compositional technique. In the 1930s and ‘40s popular music enjoyed great currency among classical American composers, and it was in these decades that Copland wrote his most popular works, including the Clarinet Concert for the great jazz clarinettist Benny Goodman.

The first performance of the orchestral version of Barber’s Adagio for Strings was conducted by Toscanini in 1938 and this sealed Barber’s reputation. Over the next few years it took on funereal associations, having first been played in this context after the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Barber had not intended this piece to be an elegy, but listeners were not wrong in responding as they did to its solemnity.
Reviews

‘Charles Neidich makes a cogent and compelling case for reinstating Copland’s original clarinet part… Chandos provides superb sound and informative annotations’.
International Record Review

‘Neidich’s account, highly personal, colourful, rhythmically free, and without rival in the version it uses, is self-recommending for Copland fans’.
Irish Times

‘Convincing performances throughout…’
Classic CD on CHAN 9662 (Verdi & Variations)

‘Neidich plays beautifully in the opening movement, and the music flows effortlessly; the cadenza is very impressive, and the finale is suitably angular and bouncy.’
Fanfare

‘Yuli Turovsky and his Montreal group… play superbly, with real feeling for the music and obvious pleasure in it… Turovsky directs with flair, and the engineers do a fine job. A thoroughly enjoyable disc.’
American Record Guide on CHAN 9662 (Verdi & Variations)

 

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