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Harris's 13th

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Author Topic: Harris's 13th  (Read 2041 times)
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« Reply #30 on: March 31, 2013, 11:19:07 am »

You're absolutely right about going at Harris full throttle dundonnell, without a conductor that is totally convinced and committed, the results can be rather lacklustre, (the performance of the 12th is in that category, I have a detailed analysis of the work which helps in understanding the work, but is frustrating as you can hear where the conductor doesn't have a detailed enough knowledge of the score to lead a fine performance). I agree Alsop was the wrong conductor, her 3rd really is one of the worst committed to disc, but Naxos have a habit of giving up on projects, especially when it comes to more important American composers, preferring to invest in some distinctly 5th rate and considerably worse American composers. The Harris symphony that is in absolutely desperate need of a good modern recording is the 1st, all my hopes are now with Albany on that one.
I don't think that Barber declined that much in his last works, 'The Lovers' is intensely moving and among my favourite Barber scores. Piston became more introverted in his later works, and they lack the immediate appeal of the earlier works, but they are still expertly crafted. Diamond seemed to maintain quality in his later works, one of his last, the Concerto for String Quartet & Orchestra is highly engaging.
Composers of course have off days earlier in their careers too, Part's 2nd and Tischenko's 3rd Symphonies I find to be exceptionally poor works, even a composer like Britten could produce complete duds like The Golden Vanity in their maturity.
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