Vous voulez voir cette page en français ? Cliquez ici.


or
Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
or
Amazon Prime Free Trial required. Sign up when you check out. Learn More
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here

Symphonies Nos. 4 & 5

Antheil Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 15.89 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.ca. Gift-wrap available.
Want it delivered Thursday, September 18? Choose One-Day Shipping at checkout.

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought


Product Details


1. Sym No.4 '1942': Moderato
2. Sym No.4 '1942': Allegro
3. Sym No.4 '1942': Scherzo
4. Sym No.4 '1942': Allegro Non Troppo
5. Decatur At Algiers
6. Sym No.5 'Joyous': Allegro
7. Sym No.5 'Joyous': Adagio Molto
8. Sym No.5 'Joyous': Finale. Allegretto

Product Description

Product Description


Customer Reviews

4 star
0
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
5.0 out of 5 stars
5.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
George Antheil had more ups and downs than most in his career as an American composer. From the extravagant (and perhaps ultimately damaging) attention paid him in Europe in his early twenties---though many, including Aaron Copland, considered him at the time to be the most talented American composer of the postwar generation---he fell into semi-neglect after the Ballet Mechanique fiasco at Carnegie Hall in 1927. He found his way to Hollywood in the 1930s and was able to support his compositional habit by writing movie scores for part of the year. The 1940s saw a temporary resurgence in his career with the three symphonies numbers 4, 5, and 6.
Why these symphonies are not in the repertory is something of a mystery. They are not masterpieces of the highest order, it's true---but plenty of less interesting and infectious music gets played year after year. They are not easy to perform, demanding careful balancing of their sometimes complex textures and virtuoso playing by soloists in all sections, though by the standards of twentieth-century music, they are not difficult. So perhaps it is the economics of rehearsal time that explains it, but a well-prepared performance of any of these works would almost certainly be enthusiastically received by an audience.
Of the two available recordings of each of the symphonies, the Hugh Wolff performances are the most satisfactory. Despite some specific reservations that will be mentioned below, it has to be said that Wolff does a wonderful job of capturing the excitement of Antheil's music and making the pieces hang together convincingly.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Terrific Symphonies Dec 5 2000
These are tuneful symphonies that should appeal to many listeners of classical music. The 4th symphony is intended to be a picture in music of a circus, but this is overly simplistic. The subtitle "1942" indicates the time of its composition during World War Two and the affect of the war on Anthiel is reflected in this music. So, there is a tense quality to the music not unlike the works Shostakovich was writing at the same time. The similarity to Shostakovich was picked up by critics of the time suggesting that Anthiel was an American Shostakovich and vice versa.
Anthiel was doing quite well during the 1940's and Leopold Stokowski was championing his music. The 5th Symphony "Joyous" is one of celebration, Anthiel's ode to joy. At the time he wrote this work, Anthiel thought it his best music, expressing his joy and sorrows of life, and also striking out in a new direction. In spite of this, it is thoughtful and brilliant rather than a dirge, and the subtitle reflects the mood well. There is a Russian quality to the music that makes one think of Prokofiev and Shostakovich, but there is another dimension to the music that belongs to Anthiel.
The short piece "Decatur at Algiers" is a nocturne for orchestra that wonderfully sets the mood an exotic location. 2000 marked the centenary of George Anthiel and it is about time that we heard his music. Hugh Wolff has done a great service to this music with this disc and his earlier one of Symphonies 1 and 6.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best available recordings of Antheil's symphonies April 12 2004
By Arthur Maisel - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
George Antheil had more ups and downs than most in his career as an American composer. From the extravagant (and perhaps ultimately damaging) attention paid him in Europe in his early twenties---though many, including Aaron Copland, considered him at the time to be the most talented American composer of the postwar generation---he fell into semi-neglect after the Ballet Mechanique fiasco at Carnegie Hall in 1927. He found his way to Hollywood in the 1930s and was able to support his compositional habit by writing movie scores for part of the year. The 1940s saw a temporary resurgence in his career with the three symphonies numbers 4, 5, and 6.
Why these symphonies are not in the repertory is something of a mystery. They are not masterpieces of the highest order, it's true---but plenty of less interesting and infectious music gets played year after year. They are not easy to perform, demanding careful balancing of their sometimes complex textures and virtuoso playing by soloists in all sections, though by the standards of twentieth-century music, they are not difficult. So perhaps it is the economics of rehearsal time that explains it, but a well-prepared performance of any of these works would almost certainly be enthusiastically received by an audience.
Of the two available recordings of each of the symphonies, the Hugh Wolff performances are the most satisfactory. Despite some specific reservations that will be mentioned below, it has to be said that Wolff does a wonderful job of capturing the excitement of Antheil's music and making the pieces hang together convincingly. For while Antheil sometimes wrote long stretches of continuous music (in the first movement of the sixth symphony, for example), his most characteristic style was a kind of montage technique, in which the music can easily fall apart into a series of seemingly unrelated phrases if not played with an overall sense of shape.
The question of originality is often raised in connection to Antheil's music, the most frequent complaint being that it sounds like Shostakovitch. It undeniably does, in places (though Antheil always claimed that the influence was his on the Russian, not vice versa). But Antheil has a distinctive voice, despite some of his procedures being traceable to the Stravinsky of Le Sacre and Symphonies of Wind Instruments, despite having an orchestral palette like Shostakovitch and Prokofiev. One can also hear early Ives in his music (the slow movement of the fifth symphony) and traces of Copland (ditto). A case could be made that it is the common influence of Mahler and other late-nineteenth-century symphonists that explains the similarities rather than contemporaries copying one another. (The public was not that aware of Mahler in the '40s, but composers decidedly were.)
Now for some nitpicking: The accelerando in the last movement of fifth symphony is better managed in the Barry Kolman performance. (It sounds as though Wolff tries to get the tempo up at the point indicated in the score, but then a tympani solo in slightly slow eighth notes keeps the tempo from pressing forward; the result is that the final presto seems abrupt and unmotivated.) Wolff's tempos in last movement of the sixth symphony are just this side of being too fast---the ensemble suffers noticeably---although the performance is even more exciting than Theodor Kuchar's cleaner one.
The recollection of the main theme of the first movement near the end of the fifth symphony (in a quite Ivesian phantasmagoria) is clearer in the Kolman than in the Wolff---perhaps because of the apparently closer miking. (All the details of the score, especially the percussion, are clearer in the Kolman, so if you are a fan of the Solti x-ray technique, you might prefer Kolman's performance.)
Finally, one real quibble: Neither performance of the fifth symphony follows the score in making the initial cymbal crash suffacato (short, like a hi-hat). The way Antheil asked for the cymbal to be played is much more of an initial "grabber"---something composers do think about.
It is good that there are now two highly accomplished performances of the fourth and fifth symphonies in addition to the old rather rough and ready performances from the 1950s. Perhaps, on the evidence of these recordings (and those of the sixth symphony), these highly enjoyable pieces will begin to show up on concert programs.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two Terrific Symphonies Dec 5 2000
By David A. Wend - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
These are tuneful symphonies that should appeal to many listeners of classical music. The 4th symphony is intended to be a picture in music of a circus, but this is overly simplistic. The subtitle "1942" indicates the time of its composition during World War Two and the affect of the war on Anthiel is reflected in this music. So, there is a tense quality to the music not unlike the works Shostakovich was writing at the same time. The similarity to Shostakovich was picked up by critics of the time suggesting that Anthiel was an American Shostakovich and vice versa.
Anthiel was doing quite well during the 1940's and Leopold Stokowski was championing his music. The 5th Symphony "Joyous" is one of celebration, Anthiel's ode to joy. At the time he wrote this work, Anthiel thought it his best music, expressing his joy and sorrows of life, and also striking out in a new direction. In spite of this, it is thoughtful and brilliant rather than a dirge, and the subtitle reflects the mood well. There is a Russian quality to the music that makes one think of Prokofiev and Shostakovich, but there is another dimension to the music that belongs to Anthiel.
The short piece "Decatur at Algiers" is a nocturne for orchestra that wonderfully sets the mood an exotic location. 2000 marked the centenary of George Anthiel and it is about time that we heard his music. Hugh Wolff has done a great service to this music with this disc and his earlier one of Symphonies 1 and 6.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A riot June 15 2014
By G.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This is a blast. The music of George Antheil is now fairly well represented on disc, which is definitely as things should be, and the releases for instance from cpo shows that there is much more to Antheil’s music than his legendary Ballet Mecanique. Now, none of his symphonies suggest anything as avant-gardistic or iconoclastic as the ballet, but they are still remarkable works. Stylistically, many have made comparisons to Shostakovich, and in some sense there is some similiarities in their uses of rhythm and ranges and juxtapositions of moods, but the musical worlds they inhabit are very different. Perhaps “Shostakovich on speed with more than a dash of Charles Ives” comes closer, but Antheil’s voice is really quite personal, I'd say.

The fourth symphony, from 1944, was premiered by Stokowski, and is probably the work in which the Shostakovich connection is most obvious, especially in the opening Moderato movement, but Antheil draws on a really dizzying array of styles and influences, from Rachmaninov to Roussel and beyond, and it is pretty remarkable that he manages to make it work as a coherent, powerful whole. The following Allegro is ominous and ghostly with hints of film music, but the Scherzo is quirky and light, but sarcastic in the character. The final Allegro non troppo once again suggests Shostakovich, but is full of good ideas and imaginative turns that nevertheless manage to cohere. It is, overall, an excellent work – given the amount of ideas and influences and styles Antheil tries to cover it really shouldn’t have worked, but it does.

The fifth symphony (1947-48) is a riot, so full of energy and optimism that it sounds about to burst at every juncture (it is, indeed, subtitled “Joyous”); Shostakovich may still be a point of comparison – the first movement sounds clearly inspired by the Russian composer’s ballet music, though sped up and with added jazz influences and American sounds – but the language is probably closer to Prokofiev’s fifth and sixth symphonies, though imbued with such breathless energy that even Prokofiev sounds relaxed and content by comparison. Yes, the musical language is eclectic, but once again I have nothing but admiration for how Antheil actually manages to bend the unbridled energy of the work into a coherent, convincing whole. It is really a must-hear.

The seven-minute Decatur at Algiers, placed between the works, was an apt choice for a filler. Described as a “nocturne for orchestra” it is a light and atmospheric work, but its quiet reflectiveness (and deviously, subtly but ever-changing moods) serves as a useful resting point between the bundles of energy that are the symphonies. It is all excellently performed by the Radio Symphony Frankfurt under Hugh Wolff, who finds all the energy and color and flair this music needs – it would certainly be churlish to complain that they are almost too faultless at times. The recorded sound is superb; just the finishing touch on a magnificent release – urgently recommended.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great music! Feb. 5 2014
By David Crockett - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Great music. It's a cliche, but he IS the American Shostakovich, which is a good thing! Good service from amazon, too.
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Look for similar items by category


Feedback