Aureole etc.




Nimbus on-line




If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android


Tudor 7188


Vaughan Williams Symphony 3 etc.


Lyrita New Recording


Lyrita Premiere Recordings

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

 

 

 

alternatively
CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Download: Classicsonline

 

Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990)
Symphony No. 1 (1928) [25:26]
Short Symphony (Symphony No. 2) (1933) [15:31]
Dance Symphony [1922-25) [17:25] (I. Dance of the Adolescent [6:56]; II. Dance of the Girl Who Moves as if in a Dream [5:12]; III. Dance of Mockery [5:17])
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/Marin Alsop
rec. 30-31 March 2007, The Concert Hall, Lighthouse, Poole, UK
NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559359 [58:15] 
Experience Classicsonline


Copland’s Symphony No. 3 remains his most performed - the opening of the fourth movement based on the Fanfare for the Common Man. Inexplicably his Symphony No. 1, a re-orchestration of the Symphony for Organ and Orchestra (1924), is much less familiar, though the Dance Symphony seems to have fared a little better. For my money, though, the latter – derived from Copland’s ballet Grohg, itself inspired by F.W. Murnau’s vampire classic Nosferatu – is the most fascinating piece here. Interestingly, the film’s subtitle is eine Symphonie des Grauens, or Symphony of Horror.

At the helm is Marin Alsop who, as a Bernstein protégé, has assimilated her mentor’s instinctive feel for Copland’s music in general and his infectious rhythms in particular. And although she is now installed in Baltimore, Alsop continues to make fine discs with her erstwhile band, the Bournemouth Symphony; this includes an earlier recording of Copland’s Third Symphony (Naxos 8.559106).

The quiet opening to the Prelude of Symphony No. 1 is pure Copland – gentle, lyrical, expansive – with some marvellous playing from flute and strings. The slow, rocking figures are nicely done, too, but the animated Scherzo reminds us that this is the composer fresh from his sojourn in Paris. The pounding, cymbal-capped climax at 1:57 isn’t that far from the primitivism of Stravinsky’s Rite, as is the sinuous woodwind writing thereafter.

Even here there is the transparency of texture we know from the later works, such as Appalachian Spring, with a hint of the raunchy rhythms of El Salón México. The bracing brass writing of the Finale has the effect of a tangy sorbet, cleansing the palate of any lingering sweetness. Copland’s is a direct, unassuming talent and even his more daring music has a lucidity that is most endearing. Alsop judges the first grinding climax very well indeed, investing the jaunty rhythms that follow with plenty of bounce. But it’s the final peroration – baying brass aided and abetted by snare and bass drums – that provides the biggest shot of adrenaline thus far.

Copland’s Short Symphony may be on a smaller scale but its rhythms are much more complex than anything we’ve yet heard. Alsop and the Bournemouth orchestra relish the mix of piquant harmonies and odd juxtapositions that make up the first movement. They also capture the sense of uneasy calm in the second – the warmth and amplitude of the recording very telling at the expansive climax – before returning to the lopsided rhythms and quirky humour of the first. This is music that cries out for the irrepressible, loose-limbed Lenny, who really knew how to spring these rhythms to great effect. That said, Alsop and her band of Brits do a sterling job.

The Dance Symphony has its roots in German Expressionist cinema but it’s no mere accompaniment to a silent film. Certainly in terms of structure it feels and sounds symphonic, not at all like a collection of dances. The yearning clarinet figure in the ‘Dance of the Adolescent’ is magically played but the masterstroke comes with the rippling harp entry at 2:17. Instantly we are pitched into the flickering world of Caligari and Nosferatu, both unsettling and unsettled. There is real pathos too – after all we do feel some sympathy for the monster, be it Nosferatu, Frankenstein or King Kong. The glockenspiel adds special colour to this strange danse macabre.

Listening to the ghostly ‘Dance of the Girl Who Moves as if in a Dream’ I was reminded of the quieter moments of Bartók’s ballet The Miraculous Mandarin. There is an underlying menace here – listen to those tolling woodwind figures – although there’s little explicit Bartókian barbarism. Still, the climax to the slinkily provocative ‘Dance of Mockery’ should send a shiver up your spine; it all ends in a paroxysm of orchestral violence.

A varied and engrossing survey of early Copland, well played and superbly recorded. Put away those much-played CDs of Appalachian Spring and try some earlier pieces instead – you won’t regret it. I’d put this newcomer alongside the Naxos recording of The Tender Land Suite and Old American Songs (see review) as some of the most rewarding Copland I’ve heard in a long time. Both discs are much-needed additions to the composer’s ever-fascinating canon.

Dan Morgan 

 


 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.