Do you enjoy tuneful American music of the 20th century? If so, this disc might be one for you. Virgil Thomson composed scores for two Great Depression era documentary films about the environment: "The Plow that Broke the Plains" and "The River". His music is delightful, containing elements of folk, jazz and, to this listener, suggestions or reminders of Charles Ives.
If you have never heard this music, don't hesitate in getting the CD. (There's a separate Naxos DVD of the films, too.) The CD is just about all one could ask for. The Post-Classical Ensemble (numbering around 40 players) was founded in 2003 and recorded this music two years later. They play well together, and the woodwind and brass solo passages are outstanding. The sound is close and vibrant. A listener really couldn't ask for much more ...oh perhaps a little closer miking of the banjo, which makes a brief but welcome appearance.
Some listeners/collectors undoubtedly own the classic 1960 recording of suites of this music made by the legendary conductor Leopold Stokowski with the Symphony of the Air orchestra for Vanguard Records. If you are fortunate to possess this LP or CD, by all means do not part with it. But this new Naxos "American Classics" series disc deserves your attention because it contains nearly 20 additional minutes of music (including some that did not fit into Thomson's film score) than the Stokowski suites.
I advise you to get the old Stokowski recording if you can find it, but definitely buy this bargain-priced CD. It's a winner.