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Product Description

Product Description

Schuman : A Free Song - Copland : Appalachian Spring - Sowerby : The Canticle of the Sun / Grant Park Orchestra & Chorus - Carlos Kalmar, direction

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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for Fans of 20th Century American Music Aug. 3 2011
By Paul Van de Water - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The Chicago-based record label Cedille has issued many fine recordings of works by American composers. It has paid special attention to Leo Sowerby, who was the Chicago Symphony's "de facto composer-in-residence" during the during the tenure of conductor Frederick Stock. A collection of American works for organ and orchestra by Barber, Piston, Sowerby, and Colgrass American Works for Organ and Orchestra and the only recording of Sowerby's Symphony No. 2 Leo Sowerby: Symphony No. 2 deserve particular mention.

This disc contains two premiere recordings--William Schuman's "A Free Song" and Sowerby's "The Canticle of the Sun." The Schuman piece, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1943, sets two excerpts from Walt Whitman's "Drum Taps." Whitman texts always seem to bring out the best in composers--Vaughan Williams ("A Sea Symphony"), Hindemith ("When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd"), Delius ("Sea Drift"), Hanson ("Song of Democracy"), and many more. "Drum Taps" is no exception. The work's Civil War poetry carried renewed resonance in the midst of World War II, and its optimism speaks to us today in a time of economic difficulty.

Sowerby's "Canticle," Pulitzer winner in 1946, is based on Matthew Arnold's translation of a poem by St. Francis of Assisi. Hugh Ross, director of the Schola Cantorum in the work's New York premiere, wrote that the composer has made "a panorama of all the elements of heaven and earth which join in praising their creator, and it unfolds in a series of tonal pictures, each motivated by the phrase it describes."

The third and final work on this recording is Aaron Copland's "Appalachian Spring," which won the Pulitzer in 1945. Although the Copland receives a fine performance from Carlos Kalmar and the Grant Park Orchestra, most music lovers will buy the disc for the Schuman and Sowerby. It is essential listening for fans of 20th century American music.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hoping that this is the first in a series Aug. 6 2011
By Gary D. Cannon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Kudos to Cedille Records and the performers for undertaking this project. I hope it is only the first in a series, since so many Pulitzer-winning scores are now difficult to find or were never recorded. The rarities by Schuman and Sowerby are especially well performed, and the pieces themselves are nicely representative of those composers' copious talents. The choir and orchestra are both top-notch.

Buyers should be forewarned that the packaging is phrased somewhat misleadingly regarding Copland's Appalachian Spring. The Pulitzer was granted to the original ballet version for thirteen instruments, but this recording includes the shorter concert suite for full orchestra. This was a mild disappointment to me, as the original version is splendid yet rarely recorded. For those interested in that version, it is available here: A Copland Celebration Vol. 1.
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, well performed music March 11 2013
By John J. Puccio - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
How is it possible that record companies haven't recorded two Pulitzer Prize-winning pieces of music before now? Well, frankly, as good as they are, they aren't highly accessible, and I can only suppose that most record companies weren't sure they'd sell. Indeed, it may be why Cedille chose to include Copland's Appalachian Spring along with them to ensure the disc's success. Anyway, it's terrifically well performed. Too bad about the live recording, though, which does no favors to the music.

John J. Puccio
Classical Candor
ARRAY(0xaa3f348c)

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