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Gershwin: Cuban Overture; Harbison: Symphony No. 3; Ives: Symphony No. 2
     

Gershwin: Cuban Overture; Harbison: Symphony No. 3; Ives: Symphony No. 2

by James Levine
 
Oehms Classics' James Levine: Documents of the Munich Years Volume 7 is an all-American program pulled together from recordings made at eight different Munich Philharmonic concerts, and featuring three works -- George Gershwin's "Cuban Overture," John Harbison's "Symphony No. 3," and Charles Ives' "Symphony No. 2." From the

Overview

Oehms Classics' James Levine: Documents of the Munich Years Volume 7 is an all-American program pulled together from recordings made at eight different Munich Philharmonic concerts, and featuring three works -- George Gershwin's "Cuban Overture," John Harbison's "Symphony No. 3," and Charles Ives' "Symphony No. 2." From the outset, one notices immediately that these live recordings, made by the Bayerischer Rundfunk, are of exceptionally good quality. The "Cuban Overture" is good without being outstanding; the opening section is manic, in the slow middle part the orchestra sounds like 101 Strings and, as is typical with European orchestras, anything in Gershwin's score requiring them to swing will make them stiffen up. John Harbison's "Symphony No. 3" is not unlike his teacher Roger Sessions' "Third" except that it is texturally leaner and has considerably less ice water in its veins. Currently, the only other recording of Harbison's "Third" is on Albany with the Albany Symphony Orchestra under David Allen Miller. It is a dutiful performance, but more distantly recorded than this Oehms Classics release and certainly lacking the quality of characterization that Levine brings to the work. In Ives' now famous "Symphony No. 2" the opening movement is a little dense, unfocused, and sluggish at points, and the second movement is so slow as to be somnambulant, although it does sound like the Mahler that Levine is trying to turn it into. Things do pick up in the concluding Allegro molto vivace, and overall Levine brings the symphony in only one minute over its usual running time of 40. While one may not throw out his/her Bernstein or Tilson Thomas recordings of Ives' "Second" in favor of this, generally it is still a good recording. In the Ives, and in every work here, sometimes Munich's percussion section is a bit slow on the uptake. Oehms Classics cues the applause at the beginnings and ends of pieces to individual tracks, presumably so that one can program the applause out of the disc if it is not wanted. As patched together as these recordings are, then why include the applause in the first place?

Product Details

Release Date:
05/09/2006
Label:
Oehms
UPC:
0812864016475
catalogNumber:
507

Tracks

  1. Applause
  2. Cuban Overture
  3. Applause
  4. Symphony No. 3
  5. Applause
  6. Symphony No. 2, for orchestra, S. 2 (K. 1A2)
  7. Applause

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