Dvorák and America: Hiawatha Melodrama

Dvorák and America: Hiawatha Melodrama

by Angel Gil-Ordóñez


Product Details

Release Date: 06/10/2014
Label: Naxos American
UPC: 0636943977729
catalogNumber: 559777


  1. Pawnee Horses, for chorus, Op. 102
  2. Hiawatha Melodrama, for narrator & orchestra (after Dvorák)

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Dvorák and America: Hiawatha Melodrama 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
lollidamaAC More than 1 year ago
Several composers have tried their hand at musical melodrama, i.e. an existing literary work embellished with musical accompaniment. Two notable examples come to mind: Schumann’s Manfred and Richard Strauss’ Enoch Arden. Both are rarely performed except for Schumann’s darkly dramatic overture. On the other hand, Copland’s inspirational Lincoln Portrait is by any calculation, standard repertory. Hiawatha, the centerpiece of this disc features the famous Longfellow poem with several Dvorak compositions arranged and interpolated by the work’s co-composers. On paper this project looked promising. Unfortunately, the resulting amalgam falls short. You find yourself drawn primarily to Dvorak’s masterful writing. Longfellow’s poetry comes across as intrusive and is not well served by the stilted recitation. Its 32 minute duration seems excessive. The remaining 44 minutes is taken up with some familiar Dvorak items readily available elsewhere as well as three brief, moderately interesting evocations of Native American music by Arthur Farwell, an avid Dvorak admirer. The Fisher arrangement of Goin’ Home is effectively done. The well-played Larghetto from the Violin Sonatina is available in its entirety on a previously released Naxos disc. Did anybody notice the tuning and voicing issues on the piano used in tracks 9-15? Very disappointing.