Ferde Grofé: Grand Canyon Suite; Mississippi Suite; Death Valley Suite

( 2 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
This EMI American Classics release -- Ferde Grof?: Grand Canyon Suite -- is a repackaging of a CD released twice before, the first instance being back in the candy-box days of the CD in the Angel Great American series and another time as a super-budget Red Line issue. This contains Felix Slatkin's cinematic and at times a little high-strung 1956 recordings with the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra of "Grand Canyon Suite" and "Mississippi Suite." These are coupled with Grof?'s own 1954 recording of "Death Valley Suite" with the "Capitol Symphony Orchestra" -- basically the same group as was with Slatkin -- and adds, as the Great American disc did, an extra track in ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
This EMI American Classics release -- Ferde Grofé: Grand Canyon Suite -- is a repackaging of a CD released twice before, the first instance being back in the candy-box days of the CD in the Angel Great American series and another time as a super-budget Red Line issue. This contains Felix Slatkin's cinematic and at times a little high-strung 1956 recordings with the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra of "Grand Canyon Suite" and "Mississippi Suite." These are coupled with Grofé's own 1954 recording of "Death Valley Suite" with the "Capitol Symphony Orchestra" -- basically the same group as was with Slatkin -- and adds, as the Great American disc did, an extra track in including a Grofé-led "Cloudburst" from the same session. For some reason, in an inexplicable bit of EMI stinginess, this little extra was left off the Red Line, something that definitely does not add value to the package; however, here the track is included once more. Slatkin's "Grand Canyon," made in stereo before the technology was available on records, is high spirited and colorful; "Painted Desert" is especially good. However, Slatkin's "Mississippi Suite" somewhat misses the mark. While it is common to drop the banjo solo in modern performances of "Mardi Gras," Slatkin doesn't give some of the best passages in the slower movements time to breathe, and "Huckleberry Finn" is done as pure corn, which would be fine if it always came off that way; but it doesn't. Grofé was an expert conductor of his own music -- and not every composer is -- and his Capitol recording of "Death Valley Suite" is representative, but something of a sonic antique, recorded in the same distant, glassy high fidelity that typifies Stan Kenton's recordings of about 1950. It's a pity that the bonus track of "Cloudburst" also comes across this way, as this is a particularly fiery performance, although the thunder machine nearly drowns out the orchestra in some spots. These recordings were seldom ever out of Capitol's catalog in the LP era and were introduced to CDs relatively early; for decades this was anyone's only option for the "Death Valley Suite," and EMI must have known it, as they kept these recordings around so long. That is no longer true as this third issue of the package makes its bow; there are preferable alternatives to everything on here, several in the case of "Grand Canyon Suite." If one is interested in hearing Grofé conduct, then this will not set you back by much. However, Grofé's music is so splendiferous, visual, loud, and lush that it seems a pity to restrict one's listening to recordings that are so old. If one is unfamiliar with Grofé's music in this kind of depth, and mainly in pursuit of a good "Grand Canyon Suite," you're best advised to go digital.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/24/2008
  • Label: Warner Classics
  • EAN: 5099923445123
  • Catalog Number: 34451
  • Sales rank: 14,588

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–5 Grand Canyon Suite, for orchestra - Ferde Grofé & Felix Slatkin (32:31)
  2. 6–9 Mississippi: A Journey in Tones (Mississippi Suite), for orchestra - Ferde Grofé & Felix Slatkin (13:11)
  3. 10–13 Death Valley Suite, for orchestra - Ferde Grofé & Capitol Symphony Orchestra (17:12)
  4. 11 Grand Canyon Suite, for orchestra: Cloudburst - Ferde Grofé & Capitol Symphony Orchestra (7:31)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Ferde Grofé Primary Artist
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    In my book this is a "must have" for many reasons

    I grew up with this album so I am partial to it but I also own or have owned nearly every other reading of the Grand Canyon Suite and it will always be my favorite Classical piece that is of American origin. Felix Slatkin really had the feel for this piece and I was really overjoyed when his version came out on CD. Some call it "cinematic" and many other things, I just call it an absolute pleasure to listen to whether I'm doing projects around the house or curled up reading a book, it's that good in my opinion. I already have 5 copies of the record album version and while the background noise of the electronics of the day really do show up on both of my McIntosh systems I get right past that when the music is presented, much better quality than the Red Seal recordings of Victory at Sea recorded just a few years earlier which kind of baffles me. In closing I think that anyone that likes the Grand Canyon Suite in particular should have a listen to this...RM

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews