Hovhaness: Guitar Concerto No. 2

Hovhaness: Guitar Concerto No. 2

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by Javier Calderón
     
 

The staggering opus number of 411 attached to the "Symphony No. 63, Loon Lake," of Alan Hovhaness reminds one of how prolific this American composer was. Never an approved composer during the years when academic systematizers ruled concert programs, he has left a huge body of work that is still only beginning to be explored. All the works on this disc are receiving… See more details below

Overview

The staggering opus number of 411 attached to the "Symphony No. 63, Loon Lake," of Alan Hovhaness reminds one of how prolific this American composer was. Never an approved composer during the years when academic systematizers ruled concert programs, he has left a huge body of work that is still only beginning to be explored. All the works on this disc are receiving their first recordings, and this particular set of pieces offers a good entrance point for his modal, very textural art. Consider the "Concerto No. 2 for guitar and strings, Op. 394," which nods just enough toward the Iberian conventions of guitar music to set your mind at ease, but then begins to work within very different parameters after you start to listen closely. Three of the four movements make use of the subtle texture of guitar versus plucked strings. The work beautifully plays off the Spanish style of guitarist Javier Calderón, for whom Hovhaness' other guitar concerto was originally written. The "Symphony No. 63" is an impressionistic piece commissioned by the New Hampshire Music Festival, with bird calls characteristic of the New England summer night beautifully woven into the orchestral texture. The opening "Fanfare for the New Atlantis, Op. 281," again contains the conventions the subject matter would lead you to expect, but they're executed in an entirely characteristic way. Who else could get away with the giant peroration of the strings at the end? Hovhaness was of Scots descent, and there does seem to be something Scottish in his modal pitch universe and his quiet orientation toward the natural world; whether for this or some other reason, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under Stewart Robertson approaches his music with unusual sympathy and with impressive facility, even if the composer's symphonies mostly still await performance by the turbo-powered American orchestras Hovhaness imagined as their performers. The booklet notes by the composer's widow, Hinako Fujihara Hovhaness, are a pleasure in themselves.

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Product Details

Release Date:
06/24/2008
Label:
Naxos American
UPC:
0636943933626
catalogNumber:
8559336
Rank:
262051

Tracks

  1. Fanfare to the New Atlantis, for orchestra, Op. 281/1  - Alan Hovhaness  -  Royal Scottish National Orchestra  - Stewart Robertson
  2. Concerto 2, for guitar & strings, Op. 394  - Alan Hovhaness  -  Royal Scottish National Orchestra  - Stewart Robertson  - Javier Calderón
  3. Symphony No.63 ("Loon Lake")  - Alan Hovhaness  -  Royal Scottish National Orchestra  - Stewart Robertson

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