- Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 60 - Joseph Achron - Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra - Elmar Oliveira - Joseph Silverstein
- Golem, suite for chamber orchestra - Joseph Achron - Czech Philharmonic Orchestra - Gerard Schwarz
- Tableaux (2) from the Theater Music to Belshazzar, for orchestra - Joseph Achron - Barcelona Symphony Orchestra - Gerard Schwarz - National Orchestra of Catalonia
Milken Archive: Joseph Achron: Violin Concerto No. 1, etc.
Prior to this Naxos American Classics disc in the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music Series, all that could be reasonably heard on record of Russian-American composer Joseph Achron's music were his short pieces for violin and piano and recordings of these pieces stretch back to 1917. Achron's chamber and orchestral music is what the composer himself regarded as his life's work, yet no trace of it was to be found on record. Conductor Gerard Schwarz should be commended for bringing to listeners this first disc of Achron in extended forms, Joseph Achron: Violin Concerto No. 1; The Golem, it is a splendid example of Achron's capabilities in this realm and leaves the listener hungry for more. Joseph Achron's music is like no other in the pantheon of early twentieth century composers: tonally it's a little like Hindemith and Stravinsky, but stylistically not like them at all. Achron's scores his orchestrations lightly over a large group of instruments, like some Schoenberg or Liszt, but again, ultimately there is no comparison. Achron's early violin music, such as the famous "Hebrew Melody, Op. 33," is specifically centered in the Jewish Folk Art Society style, practically defining the genre itself. But while his mature music still bears strong ties to Jewish themes and folklore, it has a more universal sort of appeal. The "Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 60," played brilliantly here by veteran virtuoso Elmar Oliveira, was a smash success when first heard at the Hollywood Bowl in the 1930s; likewise "The Golem Suite" was one of the main attractions of the 1932 ISCM Festival, the last to be held in Germany before the rise of Hitler. Do not be scared off by the lack of familiarity of the composer's name or the Judeo-specific nature of the packaging -- this is music for every American, as mom and apple pie as Copland, but made with Kosher salt. Seek out Joseph Achron: Violin Concerto No. 1; The Golem and you, too, will wonder why these wonderful, colorful musical works went absent for more than six decades.
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- Milken Archive
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