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The Classical Explorer

November 2009 Archives

Australian Modernist

|
Naxos 8.570241

John Antill
(1904-1986)

An Outback Overture (1953)
Corroboree (1946)

New Zealand Symphony Orchestra/James Judd
Naxos 8.570241 49:06

A corroboree is a ritual ceremony with dance performed by Australian aborigines. Antill did much research into aboriginal music, resulting in the ballet on this CD. It remains his best-known work, and is more often heard without dance. It is scored for a large orchestra that includes such indigenous instruments as clapping sticks and a bull roarer, and in many respects is reminiscent of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. The overture is an evocation of the more remote parts of Australia.

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe ]

Good Symphonic Fun

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CPO 999706

George Antheil
(1900-1959)

Symphony #4 "1942" (1942-43)
Decatur at Algiers (1943)
Symphony #5 "Joyous" (1947-48)

Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra/Hugh Wolff
CPO 999706-2 63:03

American George Antheil is best known, or perhaps notorious, for his early Ballet mécanique, written before a radical change of style. This CD is part of a series containing all six symphonies and various short orchestral pieces.

The brief Decatur at Algiers is a hommage to the naval hero. The fourth symphony, very much a war symphony, is clearly influenced by Shostakovich, while the fifth owes a great deal to Prokofiev although its beautiful slow movement has an unmistakable dash of Copland.

Read the Classical Net Review

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe ]

[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music Plus - Musicnotes.com ]

Unknown Piano Works

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CPO 999256

Anton Bruckner
(1824-1896)

Lancer-Quadrille (c. 1850)
Steiermärker (c. 1850)
Quadrille for Piano Four Hands (c. 1854)
Three Little Pieces for Piano Four Hands
Klavierstück in E Flat Major (c. 1856)
Sonata Movement in G Minor (1862)
Silent Meditation on an Autumn Evening (1863)
Fantasie (1868)
Reminiscence (c.1868)

Wolfgang Brunner, Michael Schopper, pianos
CPO 999256 47:21

o put this music into context, all but the last two pieces were written before the F Minor (Study) Symphony, his first completed work in that form. It's interesting to hear the composer's early efforts. There is very little in the piano music to hint at what was to come. Much of it sounds like very early Schubert or one of the Viennese composers of lighter music such as Lanner. This CD makes an excellent source of music for fooling your friends!

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic ]

[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music Plus - Musicnotes.com ]

Neo-Classical Italian

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CPO 777265

Alfredo Casella
(1883-1947)

Symphony #3, Op. 63 (1939-40)
Italia-Rhapsody for Large Orchestra, Op. 11 (1909)

WDR Symphony Orchestra, Köln/Alun Francis
CPO 777265 66:28

Casella's third symphony shows a number of influences, not least of them Mahler and Soviet composers of the time. Part of the last movement sounds remarkably like Piston's 6th symphony, but was written about fifteen years earlier – at least it's a point of comparison. Italia is, as you might think, a much more lighthearted affair, and contains some of the expected themes.

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic ]

[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music Plus - Musicnotes.com ]

Russian String Trios

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Hyperion CDA67573

Sergei Ivanovich Taneyev
(1856-1915)

String Trio in E Flat Major, Op. 31 (1910-11)
String Trio in B Minor (1913)
String Trio in D Major (1879-80)

Leopold String Trio
Hyperion CDA67573 67:29

Taneyev was initially a very conservative composer with little time for the efforts of other composers working in Russia at the time, thus the D Major trio sounds like Haydn. The other two, written in the later part of his career, show clear evidence of his having been more accepting of the work of his contemporaries. The Leopold String Trio is Isabelle Van Keulen (violin), Lawrence Power (viola), and Kate Gould (cello).

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic - CD Universe ]

[ Sheet music by this composer: Sheet Music Plus - Musicnotes.com ]

Yet Another Franck

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Audite 20.034

Eduard Franck
(1817-1893)

Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 57 (1860)
Symphony in B Flat Major, Op. 52 (1856)

Christiane Edinger, violin
Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra/Hans-Peter Frank
Audite 20.034 60:04

Eduard Franck was a German composer who was unrelated to the Belgian César Franck. The concerto has many similarities to Beethoven's, and the symphony has more than a trace of Mendelssohn and Schumann. Both works make an enjoyable change from some perhaps too familiar works of the period. The same artists perform the Violin Concerto, Op. 30, and the Symphony in A Major, Op. 47, on a Fermate CD (FER20025) which appears to have been deleted but which some web searching might find.

[ Available on CD: Amazon - UK - Germany - Canada - France - Japan - ArkivMusic ]
Trumpet