- Symphony No. 5 ("Joyous"), W. 186
- Over the Plains, for orchestra, W. 180
18.04 Out Of Stock
The music of George Antheil recorded here was written during and after World War II, some years after Antheil made his splash as the bad-boy composer of "Ballet mécanique" and other daring works in the 1920s. It disappeared for a time, no doubt due to the depredations of postwar concert music's academic, modernist gatekeepers, and one work here, "Over the Plains," gets its premiere from John Storgårds and the BBC Philharmonic. It's a Copland-esque little tone poem that could enliven any symphonic concert. The two symphonies have been recorded before and have been knocked as derivative, but they don't sound throughout like the works of any other composer. The "Symphony No. 5 (Joyous)" lives up to its subtitle. Sample its boisterous finale, surely born of hearing neoclassic music of Prokofiev and Stravinsky, but with an indefinable American flavor. The "Symphony No. 4 (1942)" is a wartime work resembling Shostakovich with its triumphal finale, but it precedes most of the Shostakovich works with which it might be compared (although the "Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47," could not have been far from his thoughts). All three works are nowhere less than listenable, and the performances are enthusiastic and detailed, with fine Media City studio sound from Chandos. The non-American origin of this album, and its commercial success, tells you that the music is more than warmed-over Prokofiev.