The late Norman Dello Joio (1913-2008) was born midway between Barber and Diamond, and that should give something of a pointer to his style. The Triumph of St. Joan Symphony is here recorded in its first version (the second won a Pulitzer Price for music) and consists of three movements derived from his 1950 opera. The style is, in addition to the obvious American sound, lyrical and somewhat reminiscent of Hindemith; rather conservative and perhaps not ultimately truly memorable, but still more than worth a listen and indeed containing material of some distinction. The performance here dates from the year of its premiere (1951) and the sound quality is a little rough, if perfectly acceptable. More unfortunate is the fact that the performance is a little lackluster and skimpy - while I haven't heard any alternative, I think I can imagine more power and vitality than the work receives here.
Homage to Haydn stems from 1969 and seeks, apparently, to recreate the humour and ingenious simplicity and imagination of Haydn rather than his actual musical style. It is actually a very appealing work, and it receives a much more spirited performance than the St. Joan symphony. The sound quality is also better (obviously so given that this is a 1974 stereo recording). So to sum up, this is an interesting release and woth acquiring, but especially so for the latter work insofar as one could have hoped for a better version of St. Joan.