Symphonies Nos. 4 & 6
|1. McKonkey's Ferry (Washington At Trenton); A Concert Overture|
|2. Symphony No. 4: I. Moderato - Allegretto|
|3. Symphony No. 4: II. Allegro|
|4. Symphony No. 4: III. Scherzo: Presto|
|5. Symphony No. 4: IV. Allegro non troppo|
|6. Symphony No. 6: I. Maestoso - Allegro molto; marcato|
|7. Symphony No. 6: II. Larghetto|
|8. Symphony No. 6: III. Allegro|
Top Customer Reviews
This is all new stuff to me. While I find it a bit blustery here and there--others might find more subtlety in those passages than I do-- I feel the composer did accomplish what he set out to do. And given the Naxos budget price, you too will probably find this well worth the purchase. The National Symphony Orchestra of the Ukraine is under Theodore Kuchar.
Naxos' release of pieces written in the 1940s gives us an idea of how he seasoned as he got older and tried to develop an "American" sound. The results remain mixed but there is a lot of interesting music here.
Prefacing the notes to this release is a quote from a critic commenting that Antheil might be considered the "American Shostakovich." That description is certainly accurate for the Sixth Symphony despite the inclusion of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" in the first movement. There is also a large dollop of Prokofieff in the use of the orchestra and the harmony. Nevertheless, this is an engaging symphony with much memorable melodic content.
The Fourth Symphony, oddly enough, doesn't sound as much like Shostakovich but that isn't really a strength. This piece is a little faceless, with a lot of tunes that seem to turn the wrong direction. Despite being a War Symphony, this isn't anywhere near as powerful as the Russian masters war essays. Still, it's worth a listen.
The overture is one of those ostinato-driven, martial affairs that covers a lack of melodic interest with brash sounds. When I pick up this disc, I'm likely to program it out.
Performances are pretty good, although the Ukraine orchestra isn't a world class ensemble. (Maybe their familiarity with Shostakovich helped!) The sound is good as well.
In sum, none of the pieces here are masterworks and none have a truly "American" sound (compared to Copland, Harris etc.). Still, I'd be happy to hear the 6th in a concert hall once in awhile.
Most recent customer reviews
To me, this CD is one of the worst in the "American Classics" from Naxos. I feel he doesn't have much of a personal stamp. Read morePublished on Oct. 12 2002 by Choosehappy
Years ago I learned that Antheil was the 'bad boy of (American) music', so I wondered how his music should sound. Read morePublished on Nov. 16 2000 by Charles Voogd
naxos at it again- another "obscure" american composer brought to glorious forefront by kuchar and the national symphony orchestra of the ukraine. Read morePublished on Sept. 5 2000 by vic spicer