Howard Hanson: Organ Concerto

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
Recording hasn't been unkind to the legacy of Howard Hanson, and his own recordings as conductor of other composers' music continues to stay in print and to thrive. However, when it comes to Hanson's own work, recording has not been exceptionally generous as it has to some of his contemporaries for example, Copland or George Gershwin; the vast majority of recordings devoted to Hanson concentrate on one work, his "Symphony No. 2, Romantic, Op. 30." With Naxos American Classics' Howard Hanson: Organ Concerto we finally encounter an all-Hanson collection that affords some depth to his orchestral oeuvre, and these pieces are all exceptionally fantastic offerings, to boot. ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
Recording hasn't been unkind to the legacy of Howard Hanson, and his own recordings as conductor of other composers' music continues to stay in print and to thrive. However, when it comes to Hanson's own work, recording has not been exceptionally generous as it has to some of his contemporaries for example, Copland or George Gershwin; the vast majority of recordings devoted to Hanson concentrate on one work, his "Symphony No. 2, Romantic, Op. 30." With Naxos American Classics' Howard Hanson: Organ Concerto we finally encounter an all-Hanson collection that affords some depth to his orchestral oeuvre, and these pieces are all exceptionally fantastic offerings, to boot. This selection features Hanson's early "Concerto for Organ, Harp and Strings, Op. 22/3" 1926, his "Serenade for Flute, Harp and Strings Op. 35" 1945, the "Fantasy Variations on a Theme of Youth for Piano and Strings" 1951, and his "Pastorale for Oboe, Harp and Strings" 1948-1949 and the obscure "Summer Seascape No. 2 for Viola and Strings" 1965. Although scored in a concerted vein, all of these works are cast in an episodic, single-movement format, and all but the "Organ Concerto" run less than 12 minutes in length. Rather than pressing Hanson's own one-time orchestra, the Eastman-Rochester Pops Orchestra, into the service of these unfamiliar works, Naxos located a superb foil in the Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra under Daniel Spalding. There is an excellent lineup of soloists involved as well, including Spalding's betrothed Gabriela Imreh in the "Fantasy Variations" and exciting young violist Adriana Linares in the "Serenade." The only multi-movement work presented is the very late Hanson composition "Nymph and Satyr Ballet Suite" 1979 that features Doris Hall-Gulati in a superb solo part for the clarinet. Hanson's music is multi-faceted and rich with resplendent beauty; the oft-repeated observation he never departed from his "unashamedly romantic idiom" limits one's perception as to how much variety there is in Hanson. There are textures in the "Nymph and Satyr Ballet Suite" that bring to mind Philip Glass, although in 1979 it's hard to say whether one was aware of what the other was doing musically. The "Organ Concerto" is the total opposite of, say, that by Poulenc, as the organ builds into the orchestral texture and matches it, rather than standing apart from it. All of the other pieces speak very eloquently for themselves and are certainly easy to listen to, even for the first time. Naxos American Classics' Howard Hanson: Organ Concerto makes clear that Hanson didn't hang onto his romantic musical vocabulary because he was a conservative -- Hanson did so as he knew what combination of his "13 herbs and spices" made the chicken taste right and didn't want anything else to spoil the recipe. Naxos' recording is warm, up-close, and the Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra sounds like a bigger band than it is, which is the mark of any great chamber orchestra.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/25/2006
  • Label: Naxos American
  • UPC: 636943925126
  • Catalog Number: 8559251
  • Sales rank: 178,670

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Concerto for organ, harp & strings in C, Op 22/3 - Howard Hanson & Joseph Jackson (16:13)
  2. 2–4 Nymphs and Satyr, ballet - Howard Hanson & Doris Hall-Gulati (12:47)
  3. 3 Fantasy Variations on a Theme of Youth for piano & orchestra, Op 40 - Howard Hanson & Gabriela Imreh (11:00)
  4. 4 Serenade for flute, harp & strings, Op. 35 - Howard Hanson & Andrew Bolotowsky (5:29)
  5. 5 Summer Seascape No. 2, for viola & strings - Howard Hanson & Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra (8:28)
  6. 6 Pastorale for oboe & piano (or harp & strings), Op. 38 - Howard Hanson & Jonathan Blumenfeld (7:26)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Joseph Jackson Primary Artist
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