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George Antheil Symphonic series on Chandos


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Author Topic: George Antheil Symphonic series on Chandos  (Read 411 times)
Dundonnell
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« on: May 09, 2017, 05:48:12 pm »

I see that Chandos have embarked on a series of the George Antheil symphonies with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra under John Storgards, beginning with Symphonies Nos. 4 and 5.

CPO issued recordings of Symphonies Nos. 1, 3, 4 and 5 and the Jazz Symphony (No.2 was withdrawn by Antheil) and Naxos issued a recording of Nos. 4 and 6. There is an early Symphony in F (1925-26) and a Tragic Symphony (1945-46, withdrawn by the composer).

Chandos must believe that there will be a market for new recordings of these symphonies. I wonder. I like the Antheil symphonies but there are a number of American composers whose symphonies I would rate more highly and would think have a better claim on being recorded (in some cases for the first time).
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dhibbard
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« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2017, 06:36:03 pm »

I'd like to see some newer recordings of Howard Hansen.   Some of the misc works were recorded in the 1980s on LP and transferred in mono to CD.   Some even recorded by "youth" orchestras and choirs...  not quite up to the professional level.   In fact, one of Amy Beach's works for choir and orchestra was a amateur choir and orchestra... not quite up to snuff.
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Dundonnell
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« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2017, 07:27:36 pm »

I think that you will find that Gerard Schwarz's cycle of the Howard Hanson symphonies for Delos was transferred to Naxos. These are relatively modern recordings.I was thinking more of composers like Walter Piston or David Diamond.
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Latvian
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« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2017, 10:31:13 pm »

I concur, Colin. Unless Storgards offers some significant musical revelations in these readings, this strikes me as a pointless endeavor, if not a waste of limited resources that could have been expended to some more valuable end. Perhaps the recordings were subsidized? If not, I can't imagine what possessed Chandos.

I like Antheil's music for the most part, but apart from the 4th Symphony I rarely listen to much of it -- too many other composers out there who I find far more rewarding.
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dhibbard
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« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2017, 01:24:02 am »

oh yes....  there are several pieces of David Diamond that are yet to be released.  I was told one of the symphonies was recorded for Delos but didn't get released due to lack of space on the CD.   I'd like to see all his symphonies released.    hello??
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Gauk
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« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2017, 08:32:05 am »

I suppose the reasoning is that a new release of music so immediately attractive will stimulate interest in Antheil. I would say that Chandos has a higher profile than CPO with the general music-buying public, so they may attract an audience CPO won't get.

Incidentally, I'm reminded of a topic raised in another thread about whether it is right to ignore the withdrawal of a work by the composer. I wonder why No 2 got withdrawn?
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2017, 10:50:37 am »

I think Antheil is a very interesting composer and I find some of his music quite fascinating. That said, the reason why his best symphonies are so interesting to people like me,who enjoy them,is because of the sheer fecundity of his imagination and brilliant ear for colourful,imaginative orchestration. In that respect it is no surprise that he was a successful film composer. I find some of his symphonies quite extraordinary for their vivid almost hallucinogenic orchestration. I would single out No's 1 & 6,in particular. I also enjoy his collage like approach to composition. Like A musical magpie incorporating allusions to other composers and,above all,his inventive assimilation of popular idioms and styles. In this respects I think Antheil is a fascinating and in his own way very original composer,and I think his music is fully deserving of more attention. On a more negative level,I would not regard him as a major symphonist because of his poor sense of structure. His collage like approach to the symphony almost works for me. He's almost like an American version of Brian in the way that he builds up his music through a process of allusion and his ideas are usually very good. He's almost like a conjurer in this sense. Making a rabbit appear magically from a hat;but you know it's not really the way it looks. It's all done by sleight of hand. In that sense he's not a good symphonist. But he's not really bad either;because he's so good at what he does. I could go so far as to class him as a sort of musical conjurer. Maybe,even to people like me,who enjoy his music,he's not really quite as good as he seems! More a David Copperfield,than a bad boy of American music. As to the Chandos series. I quite like the artwork and you'll get that big,boomy,somewhat reverberant ( somewhat superficially) spectacular Chandos sound. Apart from that,I can't think of one reason why I would want to invest in this when the Cpo cycle is so categorically superb. Much as I enjoy Antheil,I think this new cycle from Chandos is a complete waste of time,money,materials,power;and if I were to buy it,space as well! Roll Eyes Grin In this respect I agree with Dundonnell and Latvian. We've had totally unecessary duplication of a widely praised and totally satisfactory Atterberg cycle,duplications of Raff symphonies,already available in first rate recordings from Tudor,Vaughan Williams recordings which are unlikely to ever replace classic recordings in the publics affections,and I can confidently predict never will.......I could go on. Luckily,for everyone else,I won't!! Chandos certainly won't be getting a penny of my money until they wise up!! If they wanted to record a cycle of something that has already been recorded,I would have preferred to have seen a cycle of Tournemire symphonies. These have had some adequate recordings,and some really lousy recordings;and I have not quite made my mind up about the true value of some of them;but there is enough to arouse my interest and make me want to explore these ambitious scores via some really first rate recordings. He certainly has his own sound world and Timpani don't seem to be interested,so far. And there is so much more. We all have composers in mind,that we would like to see recorded. I find it difficult to believe that some of Piston's symphonies,for example,are only available in ancient old recordings. The absence of a really good modern recording of Harris' Fifth Symphony,one of his best symphonies,imho,is a shame. A Fricker cycle would be fantastic. Imagine hearing his best scores in state of the art digital sound? Even some Holbrooke would be preferable to this Antheil nonsense!! Grin Are there really hundreds of Antheil groupies waiting to pounce on this new recording? If they can have a slice of the pie,why not us Holbrookeians? Holbrooke was keen on popular music,too!! Grin

NB: I understand Gauk's point;but it does make you wonder what Chandos will be duplicating next? Yes,it may help to increase interest in this very worthwhile and entertaining composer;but
      the overriding impression I get out of is a record label that has run out of new ideas. It all feels a bit like the recording industry equivalent of those bbc remakes of old situation comedies.
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dhibbard
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« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2017, 02:09:22 pm »

that reminds me something that Latvian said,  I'm starting to see more CDs where the release was either a grant from a Trust or gift from such and such.... wonder if is a trend?
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Latvian
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« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2017, 09:10:34 pm »

Quote
I'm starting to see more CDs where the release was either a grant from a Trust or gift from such and such.... wonder if is a trend?

Actually, I believe it's more prevalent than one might think. In particular, many of Albany Records' releases have been issued only due to outside funding paying the recording costs, or providing an existing master from a private source. Whenever we see a corporate or government logo on a CD case, it indicates some level of sponsorship for the recording, if not in its entirity. Many CDs released in Latvia owe their existence to these sponsorships (sometimes even multiple sponsorships). And then, of course, we have societies devoted to promoting particular composers raising funds to enable releases -- the Havergal Brian Society, for example.

I think we're getting to the point where very few classical labels are able or willing to risk undertaking major recording projects completely on their own.

Also, every once in a while I see notices of planned recording projects with subscription schemes to guarantee a return on the investment in the recording. I wouldn't be surprised if this approach, along with online crowdfunding, becomes more commonplace in the future.
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Latvian
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« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2017, 09:14:45 pm »

Thanks, cilgwyn, for your very interesting comments on Antheil's music. I can't say that I had ever ascribed many of these characteristics to his works, but your characterizations intrigue me and I'll certainly have another listen to the existing recordings of the symphonies in that context.

So much music, so little time...
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dhibbard
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« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2017, 10:10:44 pm »

Quote
I'm starting to see more CDs where the release was either a grant from a Trust or gift from such and such.... wonder if is a trend?

Actually, I believe it's more prevalent than one might think. In particular, many of Albany Records' releases have been issued only due to outside funding paying the recording costs, or providing an existing master from a private source. Whenever we see a corporate or government logo on a CD case, it indicates some level of sponsorship for the recording, if not in its entirity. Many CDs released in Latvia owe their existence to these sponsorships (sometimes even multiple sponsorships). And then, of course, we have societies devoted to promoting particular composers raising funds to enable releases -- the Havergal Brian Society, for example.

I think we're getting to the point where very few classical labels are able or willing to risk undertaking major recording projects completely on their own.

Also, every once in a while I see notices of planned recording projects with subscription schemes to guarantee a return on the investment in the recording. I wouldn't be surprised if this approach, along with online crowdfunding, becomes more commonplace in the future.


case in point.. the Atterberg cycle on Chandos sponsored by Volvo.     Several new Estonian CDs sponsored partly by several organizations including the ERR  (public or State TV)  Estonian Min of Culture... several banks...

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dhibbard
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« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2017, 04:28:35 am »

Saab  was another sponsor I see... the Halvorsen cycle on Chandos is the Grieg Foundation grant and Arts Council Norway, Olsen is sponsored by SpareBank Norway.. Norwegian Rhapsody-Orchestral Favorites on BIS sponsored by Stat Oil Norway.. Maybe in a few years, the CD jewel cases will look like NASCAR clothing jackets with sponsor names everywhere??
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Gauk
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« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2017, 04:07:16 pm »

So - imagine you have won the lottery and have lots of cash in hand. You can go to Chandos and order up one complete symphony cycle. They have Martyn Brabbins and the BBCSSO lined up and ready to go. Who will you pick? Piston, Diamond and Holbrooke have all been mentioned, but you have to settle on one. I'm sure there are other names worthy of consideration - what about Butterworth, for instance?
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Dundonnell
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« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2017, 04:59:50 pm »

So - imagine you have won the lottery and have lots of cash in hand. You can go to Chandos and order up one complete symphony cycle. They have Martyn Brabbins and the BBCSSO lined up and ready to go. Who will you pick? Piston, Diamond and Holbrooke have all been mentioned, but you have to settle on one. I'm sure there are other names worthy of consideration - what about Butterworth, for instance?

Martyn Brabbins is a specialist in British music so it should probably be a British composer For me it would be a toss-up between Peter Racine Fricker, Iain Hamilton and William Wordsworth. Hamilton was Scottish, Wordsworth lived for most of his adult life in Scotland. Two of Wordsworth's eight symphonies exist on cd in relatively modern recordings, two more in transfers from radio broadcasts, one (the unperformed 6th) requires soloists and chorus. So -with some considerable regrets regarding the other two- I would opt for Hamilton (none of whose 4 is on cd).
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Grandenorm
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« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2017, 05:05:10 pm »

Ruth Gipps
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