Ever since Blomstedt recorded the symphonies of Carl Nielsen with the San Francisco Symphony, I have followed this important set of recorded legacy. Nothing prepared me (or perhaps the cd buying public) for this release. Harbison's reputation has continued to rise in the music world, and this 1994 CD has two substantial works - his Symphony No.2 and Oboe Concerto. London/Decca should be applauded for bringing this to fruition. Harbison's work with the SFSO bore good fruit. The symphony is a dawn to dusk work - a plan that many composers have explored many times. The concerto has Harbison playing with jazz inflections and rhythms - even having the soloist play bent notes. I have only encountered Harbison's music in the concert hall once, and this gives one the opportunity to get to know his music better. Even more important, though, is the stunning recording of the Sessions Symphony No.2. For many years the only way we could hear this was with the first recording with Dimitri Mitropolous and the New York Philharmonic, an impressive historical document, but this work needed a new recording. The premier performance was with Pierre Monteux and the San Francisco Symphony, so the work's heritage becomes apparent. Sessions' music refuses to become poplular with the masses but for those of us who like to dig into music's less famous corners, it exists in fine performances with varying degrees of recorded sound. This work is one of his early works and is less forbidding than the later symphonies but is still a tough nut to crack. The work's basic tonal center is D, but strays away from it quite often. He uses key signatures in the score, but he didn't need to. I don't expect a recording of this symphony or any of his other symphonies in the near future, but what we have is great and this is the best of them. This music will take much listening and assimilation, but it is well worth it.