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David Diamond Symphony No.6 from Naxos


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Author Topic: David Diamond Symphony No.6 from Naxos  (Read 714 times)
Dundonnell
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« on: April 01, 2018, 01:36:49 am »

It appears that Naxos are about to release a recording (artists as yet unknown) of David Diamond's Symphony No.6 Smiley

https://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/classical/products/8432797--david-diamond-symphony-no-6-rounds-for-string-orchestra-romeo-and-juliet

This is great news for those of us who regard Diamond as one of the most seriously neglected American composers of his generation.

Diamond wrote eleven symphonies. Delos released Symphonies Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 8, all played by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra under Gerard Schwarz.. There is a recording of Symphony No.5 on the New World label.

Naxos obtained the rights to the Delos recordings and reissued them. However the Naxos discs omitted two of the works with which Delos had coupled the symphonies: the Concerto for small orchestra(DE 3093;Symphonies Nos. 2 and 4) and the Music for Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" (DE 3103; Symphony No.3).

Delos also released a Diamond compilation cd which includes the Rounds for String Orchestra (as well as the Adagio from the Symphony No.11: more about that below).

What I am presuming therefore is that this new Naxos disc contains the "Romeo and Juliet" music and Rounds from the previous Delos discs together with a brand new recording of Symphony No.6 (unless of course Schwarz recorded the symphony for Delos but that company never released it?)

The Symphony No.6 has been available on You Tube and elsewhere in an aged performance and execrable sound by the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Charles Munch. It will be great to have this powerful work on cd Smiley

Of course that will still leave the short Symphony No.7, the Symphony No.9 for baritone and orchestra and the massive Symphonies Nos. 10 and 11. Nos. 7, 9 and 10 can be obtained in off-air versions online. No.11 however is only represented by the Adagio movement Delos released: incomprehensible, shocking and reprehensible in my opinion.

Still.....some good new for lovers of mid-20th century American symphonies Grin Smiley
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dhibbard
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« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2018, 02:14:53 am »

this is great news..  I've been wanting to hear these compositions for a long time.
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calyptorhynchus
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« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2018, 03:40:08 am »

 Grin
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Greg K
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« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2018, 03:41:59 am »

Good news, of course.  I've not heard the Munch performance you refer to, but will accept by faith it's the "powerful work" you suggest.  OTOH, I did play through (several times each) the downloads of Symphonies 7, 9, & 10 when they appeared on the UC forum some years ago and was decidedly underwhelmed.  It put in my head that perhaps the later Diamond suffered a noticeable falling off from his earlier powers, and that realizing this Delos deliberately limited their recordings to the earlier and more meritorious Symphonies.  Just speculation on my part,  but sometimes though we would like to hear everything by a composer and make our own judgments, those who make such decisions aren't acting arbitrarily but rather have considered the quality of the scores and found them unworthy of the labor and expense necessary for commercial exposure.  Not saying that was necessarily the case with Delos's truncated Diamond cycle, - but it's not implausible.
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calyptorhynchus
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« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2018, 06:14:47 am »

There are plenty of mainstream composers whose works have multiple recordings in the catalogue but were never worth recording in the first place. The least courtesy to neglected composers is to ensure their works receive recordings then we can judge ourselves. I have a lifetime experience in the literary world and haven't the least regard or respect for literary gatekeepers, and I suspect that musical gatekeepers are just as moronic in the main.
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savoir_faire
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« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2018, 07:40:59 am »

More details here - these would appear to be recent recordings.

https://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.559842
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Greg K
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« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2018, 08:12:21 am »

I can only say regarding Diamond that after hearing the extant recordings of Symphonies 7, 9, & 10 (whatever performance and sonic deficiencies may have biased my evaluation), I could understand why Delos didn't find reason to complete a full cycle.  Recording labels typically aren't in the business of extending courtesies (any more than book publishers are).  It's easy to understand why the unworthy works of mainstream composers so often get indiscriminately recorded.  But I wouldn't call the "musical gatekeepers" at such labels as CPO, Toccata, BIS, Hyperion, (and dozens of others we could name) morons.  In fact, their record is quite exceptional when it comes to "neglected composers".  Are you suggesting no standards of quality control are ever justified when deciding what should get an airing, - that the collective obligation among them is to issue everything and let the listener alone have a say as to which works (in retrospect) merited the effort and expense?

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calyptorhynchus
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« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2018, 10:56:27 am »

"Recording labels typically aren't in the business of extending courtesies (any more than book publishers are)."

Shame on them then, as far as I am concerned literary and musical creators are enhancing the world with rare gifts and only fools would not acknowledge this and extend the courtesy or recording or publication to them.

"But I wouldn't call the "musical gatekeepers" at such labels as CPO, Toccata, BIS, Hyperion, (and dozens of others we could name) morons. "

I said that I found literary gatekeepers moronic, and I suspected that musical ones were the same. Obviously not all musical gatekeepers are worthy of that description, but if you look at the field of recordings (the vast oversupply of recordings of certain works and the notable undersupply of certain others) then clearly something is going wrong.

"Are you suggesting no standards of quality control are ever justified when deciding what should get an airing, - that the collective obligation among them is to issue everything and let the listener alone have a say as to which works (in retrospect) merited the effort and expense? "

Absolutely not, I believe that there are objective standards of literary excellence (and can go into detail, but here is not the place) and literary gatekeepers in the most cases completely ignore these and publish only the most unworthy; I suspect that the same thing is going on in music. Again I can argue this at length and I have a pretty theory as to why (but again I won't trouble people here with these thoughts).
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Dundonnell
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« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2018, 03:20:36 pm »

Maybe Greg is right in asserting that there was a falling-off in the quality of Diamond's creative powers towards the end of his life. I don't happen to agree but so be it. We are all entitled to our own evaluation of the merits or otherwise of particular compositions. Few would argue that there was a significant decline in the quality of the late compositions of Roy Harris. I find the last symphonies of Harris actually embarrassing to listen to so poor are they in my opinion.

The reasons why a particular record company should not record some of a composer's music having previously recorded other of his works are frequently more mundane. Delos appears to have got into some difficulties or been forced into a change of direction sometime in the late 1990s. Having used the Seattle Symphony Orchestra and Gerard Schwarz to record all the Howard Hanson symphonies and some of the Walter Piston and David Diamond symphonies this relationship came to a juddering halt. I do not think that the company made a decision on artistic/musical grounds to cease recording American symphonies because the unrecorded symphonies were "not worth recording". Schwarz was, and presumably still is, an admirer of these composers. If asked (and paid to do so) I am in little doubt that he would have continued to record American symphonies.

Something went wrong. Whether it had anything to do with him leaving Seattle or his decidedly unhappy time with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra I am in no position to speculate. What I very much doubt however is that Delos or Schwarz concluded that the unrecorded symphonies of Walter Piston or David Diamond were "not worth recording".

The catalogues of the major (and many minor) companies are littered with recordings of Mahler symphonies. By no means all of these are inspired renderings. Yet there seems to be a market for such multiple versions of the same work. IF I had 50 versions of the same symphony then there would be many of these I would never return to (but I do concede that there are not a few of the cds of neglected composers which have disappointed me and are seldom taken back down from my shelves).

But the catalogues of the smaller companies are also full of works which some listeners find almost entirely without merit. There have certainly been composers and their works on cd which have been dismissed by some members here as "undeserving" of revival.

Even supposing therefore that we are to rely and depend on decisions taken by record labels on artistic grounds-assuming that these decisions are taken for such reasons- are we to be left reliant on the artistic tastes of a tiny handful of individuals and their musical tastes?

Well, to a certain extent we already are. Robert von Bahr doesn't/didn't apparently like Hilding Rosenberg. Martin Anderson of Toccata records what impresses him. On the other hand there are companies which swear blind that they would record composer X but can't find the money to do so. We could argue in the same breath that a company was quite justified in not recording late David Diamond because the music is "unworthy" and that CPO is being daft recording the symphonies of Johann Nepomuk David because, actually, they aren't very good! (Nobody will be surprised that I would disagree with such assertions).

If I was a multi-millionaire I could get any orchestra to play and record anything I wanted  I am not so it won't happen. But-if it did-I know that some people, perhaps many people, would say "what a waste of time and effort" and that others would thank me profusely. It all comes back to taste. And-at the end of the day-with the greatest of respect to the critics- I would rather hear a particular piece for myself and determine for myself whether I "like it" (and what an old-fashioned and simplistic concept that is).

My apologies for rambling at such inordinate length.....
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Dundonnell
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« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2018, 03:22:11 pm »

More details here - these would appear to be recent recordings.

https://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.559842

Hmm! I hope that this student orchestra is up to the challenge.
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calyptorhynchus
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« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2018, 12:08:34 am »

When people say 'where is the money to come from to fund the recording of [insert worthy work]?' I always reply, 'where did the money come from to make the 235th recording of [insert unworthy work]?'
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dhibbard
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« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2018, 05:24:21 am »

More details here - these would appear to be recent recordings.

https://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.559842

Hmm! I hope that this student orchestra is up to the challenge.
As a graduate of Indiana University, I can be assured that this is really a top notch recording.  Looking forward to adding this to my David Diamond collection.... thanks Naxos!!   

Forgot to mention that Yondani Butt (January 13, 1945 - August 28, 2014) studied music at Indiana University and studied conducting with Wolfgang Vacano (1906-1985) at Indiana University. 
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Dundonnell
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« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2018, 04:07:38 pm »

I am delighted to hear this Smiley
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dhibbard
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« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2018, 05:36:43 am »

OK now I've got to dig out all my David Diamond CDs and give them a fresh listen....
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Vandermolen
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« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2018, 07:56:23 am »

Very exciting news about this forthcoming release. Even if Symphony No.6 is not as good as the ones I love (especially nos. 3,4,2 and 1 - in that order) I know that I will enjoy the lyrical and moving 'Romeo and Juliet' with which it is coupled. I was the lucky recipient of a charming letter from David Diamond after I wrote to him telling him how much his Symphony No.3 meant to me. IMHO it should be up there with the other great American third symphonies by Copland, Harris, Schuman and Hanson.
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