The Plow That Broke the Plains Soundtrack
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See all 21 tracks on this disc
Pare Lorentz' The Plow that Broke the Plains and The River are landmark American documentary films.* Aesthetically, they break new ground in seamlessly marrying pictorial imagery, symphonic music, and poetic free verse, all realized with supreme artistr
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The River presents the tunes more faithfully to their original forms, and a bit more separate from the "European" music but is a quite interesting work on its own merit. The highlight is the section called "Floods" where the flood waters are evoked by somber swirling contrapuntal string writing.
The Washington based Post-Classical Ensemble is dedicated to bringing stuff like this out of the shadows (although a suite derived from the score has been recorded a few times, these are their first complete recordings). This is a wonderful disc and I hope the Naxos American Classics series will soon feature more from Virgil Thomson, one of America's neglected masters.
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.