- Audio CD (Aug. 27 2002)
- SPARS Code: DDD
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Hybrid SACD, Import
- Label: Albany Records
- ASIN: B00006F84M
- Other Editions: MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
The more interesting piece on this disc is the Harris 2nd symphony which the composer suppressed after much difficulties leading up to it's premiere. Conductor Miller has gone back and reinstated all the music that Harris cut at the request of the piece's first conductor.
As it stands here, the piece is 21 minutes of interesting ideas which don't wholely jell. I disagree completely with the other reviewer, however, about the distinctiveness of this music. Anyone who knows Harris' justly famous 3rd Symphony will immediately hear the same fingerprints here. While the melodic material isn't as trenchant as it is in the 3rd, the Harris "sound"--which would be adopted by quite a few composers in the 1940s as a uniquely American sound--is clearly here. And no one else who was writing at that time was writing this way.
Sure, the 2nd symphony doesn't reach the heights of the 3rd, but frankly Harris was a very uneven composer, and little of the music he wrote AFTER the 3rd reached the pinnacle either. So, if you like the Harris sound, you'll want to snap this up, as the only other company likely to approach this music is Naxos, and there's no guarantee they'll produce a complete Harris symphony cycle.
The Gould 3rd symphony is not quite as aurally memorable as the Harris piece, perhaps because Gould here suppresses much of his melodic talent to produce a serious piece. This is rather a mistake, I think, as it renders large bits of the first and last movements as a series of dramatic gestures without real distinction.Read more ›
To the CD consuming public: ahem...for as much as I typically like Roy Harris and his somewhat quirky and lopsided compositional manner, and for as much as I appreciate Gould (though he's never really been my cup of tea), I have to say that the works on this disc left me...um...nowhere. Personally, I was hoping for more from the Harris. I rather expected a sort of compositional ramp-up that would anticipate his more widely known and appreciated Third Symphony. That didn't happen. In fact, nothing seemed to happen. And believe it or not, that's the whole story. Or, to sum it up in a different way, these works are neither here nor there. They are not quite insipid, but then, they're not quite anything else, either.
The bottom line is if you are a Gould nut and must have everything that he's ever composed, or if you are trying to complete the Harris symphonic cycle (which may never really be complete), then this disc is a must. On the other hand if you don't fit into the above catagories, you can safely bypass this disc.