- Audio CD (April 22 2003)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Delos Records
- ASIN: B0000006WX
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #88,784 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
|1. Symphony No. 2: Moderato|
|2. Symphony No. 2: Adagio|
|3. Symphony No. 2: Allegro|
|4. Sinfonietta: Allegro grazioso|
|5. Sinfonietta: Adagio|
|6. Sinfonietta: Allegro vivo|
|7. Symphony No. 6: Fluendo espressivo|
|8. Symphony No. 6: Leggerissimo vivace|
|9. Symphony No. 6: Adagio sereno|
|10. Symphony No. 6: Allegro energico|
The first movement of the Second is one of Piston's most remarkable creations: it juxtaposes a brooding, Brahmsian first subject with a jig-like, made-in-America second idea. Perhaps not since Haydn's Hen Symphony has a sonata form enclosed two such strikingly contrasted themes!
The Sixth, with four movements (instead of three as in the Second) is an even greater demonstration of Piston's symphonic craft. The work features a witty scherzo and a typically terse, rousing finale--but its heart is the glowing, arching slow movement. It's as gorgeous a movement as you'll find in a twentieth-century symphony and a definitive rejoinder to those who dismiss Piston's work as "dry" or "academic".
The man possessed one of the great musical minds of the twentieth century--certainly one of the most lucid. Anyone looking for great, accessible twentieth-century symphonic music evincing a true mastery of form, motion, counterpoint, orchestration, and expressive content will thoroughly enjoy these two underrated symphonies. (Piston, btw, wrote *the* books on counterpoint, harmony, and orchestration.) The Sinfonietta, which rounds out the disc, is a somewhat lesser work. It could be dismissed as an example of brittle neo-classicism in the Stravinskian mode--but it's still an energetic and likeable piece.