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(Some) Twentieth Century American Symphonies Not on CD (again!)


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Author Topic: (Some) Twentieth Century American Symphonies Not on CD (again!)  (Read 493 times)
Dundonnell
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« on: May 01, 2018, 12:52:35 am »

With the imminent release by Naxos of a cd containing David Diamond's Symphony No.6 I thought that I might revisit one of my lists.

I have excluded Alan Hovhaness (just too many!) and the withdrawn Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2 by Peter Mennin, Vincent Persichetti and William Schuman (although both Mennin's Second and Schuman's Second have been performed). John Harbison's Symphonies Nos. 4, 5 and 6 are available for digital download from the Boston Symphony Orchestra's website.

So-

Paul Creston: Symphony No.6 (1981)

David Diamond: Symphony No.7 (1959), Symphony No.9 (1985), Symphony No.10 (1989-2000) and Symphony No.11 (1989-92)

Vincent Giannini: Symphony No.1 (1950), Symphony No.2 (1955) and Symphony No.5 (1965)

Morton Gould: Symphony No.1 (1943) and Symphony No.6 (1983)

Roy Harris: Symphony No.10 (1965), Symphony No.12 (1968-69) and Symphony No.13 (1975-76)

George Rochberg: Symphony No.3 (1966-69), Symphony No.4 (1976) and Symphony No.6 (1986-87)

Christopher Rouse: Symphony No.5 (2016)

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich: Symphony No.5 (2008)


Fortunately almost all of these symphonies can be heard in off-air recordings although the sound quality of some leave a lot to be desired. In fact the only symphonies listed above which cannot be accessed in this way are Diamond's 11th, Giannini's 1st and the recent Christopher Rouse 5th which was premiered by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in February 2017 and may therefore be around in someone's possession?  I would certainly like to see the missing Creston, Diamond, Rochberg and Zwilich on cd (the three Roy Harris are perhaps best ignored Embarrassed)
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relm1
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« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2018, 01:22:05 am »

Arnold Rosner Symphony No. 6, plus one could argue No. 1 through 4 though they are considered juvenilia and not available.
Kevin Puts Symphony No. 1 (No. 2 through 4 are available)
Michael Hersch Symphony No. 3 (No. 1 and 2 are on Naxos but No. 3 I heard premiere...it isn't a pleasant listen)
Tomas Svoboda Symphony No. 2 to 6 (Symphony No. 1 is very impressive for an 18 year old composer and is commercially available)
My Symphony No. 1 and 2 (plus first three juvenilia symphonies since withdrawn) Smiley
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Dundonnell
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« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2018, 09:46:12 pm »

I was restricting myself to established composers with whose music I am familiar but I ought to have included Rosner.

What is the music of Kevin Puts like?
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relm1
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« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2018, 01:02:49 am »

I was restricting myself to established composers with whose music I am familiar but I ought to have included Rosner.

What is the music of Kevin Puts like?

It is tonal, dramatic, colorful, with lots of elements of John Adams, Mahler, and Shostakovich. 
Some excerpts from his Pulitzer prize winning opera, Silent Night:



Here is his very dramatic Symphony No. 2 (excuse that this audio is from the camera in the back of the hall rather than high fidelity):
https://youtu.be/leKKHXkI-nk?t=801

I was at the premiere and it was quite a devastating experience.  The ovation was instantaneous and thunderous.  The audience loves him.
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Dundonnell
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« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2018, 02:51:32 pm »

Thanks for this Smiley The Symphony No.2 is on a Naxos disc so I may investigate further.
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relm1
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« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2018, 03:46:35 pm »

Thanks for this Smiley The Symphony No.2 is on a Naxos disc so I may investigate further.

Unfortunately, it isn't the greatest performance but should be good enough as an intro.  No. 4 is on Harmonia Mundi I believe. 
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Dundonnell
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« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2018, 09:38:02 pm »

Interestingly enough no sooner than I post my list than I find that Naxos will be releasing this next month:

https://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/classical/products/8440554--harbison-symphony-no-4
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Vandermolen
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« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2018, 12:06:16 pm »

This is an interesting thread. The later symphonies of Roy Harris interest me as do those of David Diamond. I'm looking forward to receiving his Sixth Symphony soon. I had a very nice email exchange with Arnold Rosner and was very sad to hear that he had passed away recently. I have enjoyed the releases featuring his music on Naxos. I'm tempted by Harbison's 4th Symphony, soon to be released on Naxox. I guess that even if Idont appreciate I'll hear another version of Ruggles's 'Sun Treader' which I've always liked. For me the most seriously under-recorded American composer is Ronald Lo Presti. The only thing I can find on CD is the powerful and moving 'The Masks' and I've heard some of his other works, including his tribute to practitioner Kennedy, which I found very moving.
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dhibbard
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« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2018, 04:10:11 pm »

With the imminent release by Naxos of a cd containing David Diamond's Symphony No.6 I thought that I might revisit one of my lists.

I have excluded Alan Hovhaness (just too many!) and the withdrawn Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2 by Peter Mennin, Vincent Persichetti and William Schuman (although both Mennin's Second and Schuman's Second have been performed). John Harbison's Symphonies Nos. 4, 5 and 6 are available for digital download from the Boston Symphony Orchestra's website.

So-

Paul Creston: Symphony No.6 (1981)

David Diamond: Symphony No.7 (1959), Symphony No.9 (1985), Symphony No.10 (1989-2000) and Symphony No.11 (1989-92)

Vincent Giannini: Symphony No.1 (1950), Symphony No.2 (1955) and Symphony No.5 (1965)

Morton Gould: Symphony No.1 (1943) and Symphony No.6 (1983)

Roy Harris: Symphony No.10 (1965), Symphony No.12 (1968-69) and Symphony No.13 (1975-76)

George Rochberg: Symphony No.3 (1966-69), Symphony No.4 (1976) and Symphony No.6 (1986-87)

Christopher Rouse: Symphony No.5 (2016)

Ellen Taaffe Zwilich: Symphony No.5 (2008)


Fortunately almost all of these symphonies can be heard in off-air recordings although the sound quality of some leave a lot to be desired. In fact the only symphonies listed above which cannot be accessed in this way are Diamond's 11th, Giannini's 1st and the recent Christopher Rouse 5th which was premiered by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in February 2017 and may therefore be around in someone's possession?  I would certainly like to see the missing Creston, Diamond, Rochberg and Zwilich on cd (the three Roy Harris are perhaps best ignored Embarrassed)

Yes I am really looking forward to listening to the David Diamond release from Naxos.... I wonder if university orchestras are the only way we may hear unsung compositions... then I got out my Howard Hanson recordings and there was the  Eastman School of Music-Rochester Orchestra.
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relm1
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« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2018, 12:57:33 am »

This is an interesting thread. The later symphonies of Roy Harris interest me as do those of David Diamond. I'm looking forward to receiving his Sixth Symphony soon. I had a very nice email exchange with Arnold Rosner and was very sad to hear that he had passed away recently. I have enjoyed the releases featuring his music on Naxos. I'm tempted by Harbison's 4th Symphony, soon to be released on Naxox. I guess that even if Idont appreciate I'll hear another version of Ruggles's 'Sun Treader' which I've always liked. For me the most seriously under-recorded American composer is Ronald Lo Presti. The only thing I can find on CD is the powerful and moving 'The Masks' and I've heard some of his other works, including his tribute to practitioner Kennedy, which I found very moving.

I too like Ronald LoPresti.  His symphonies are available on youtube however I think the point of this thread is more about symphonies not commercially available on CD even if they can be heard.  I find him to remind me of Ralph Vaughan Williams and some early Stravinsky.  There is a near quote of The Rite of Spring in his Symphony No. 1 second movement.  Sad he died so young. 
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« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2018, 10:10:24 am »

This is an interesting thread. The later symphonies of Roy Harris interest me as do those of David Diamond. I'm looking forward to receiving his Sixth Symphony soon. I had a very nice email exchange with Arnold Rosner and was very sad to hear that he had passed away recently. I have enjoyed the releases featuring his music on Naxos. I'm tempted by Harbison's 4th Symphony, soon to be released on Naxox. I guess that even if Idont appreciate I'll hear another version of Ruggles's 'Sun Treader' which I've always liked. For me the most seriously under-recorded American composer is Ronald Lo Presti. The only thing I can find on CD is the powerful and moving 'The Masks' and I've heard some of his other works, including his tribute to practitioner Kennedy, which I found very moving.

I too like Ronald LoPresti.  His symphonies are available on youtube however I think the point of this thread is more about symphonies not commercially available on CD even if they can be heard.  I find him to remind me of Ralph Vaughan Williams and some early Stravinsky.  There is a near quote of The Rite of Spring in his Symphony No. 1 second movement.  Sad he died so young. 
I meant 'practitioner' Kennedy above. I'm glad that you like Lo Presti too - a very fine composer. I wish that his symphonies at least were on a commercial CD although a kind Internet music friend did a CD copy for me.
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« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2018, 09:17:50 pm »

Your lists are invariably useful and interesting, Colin. It's great that you codify and disseminate what more often that not are random observations kicking around in the back of some of our minds! While I'm a completist at heart as well and would love to see many of these works recorded and more widely available in good sound and performances, I can at least offer forum members an opportunity to hear some of the works mentioned in your list and by others in this thread, that are not already here in our Downloads folder.

I have live performances of Kevin Puts' Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2 and will be happy to upload them here if there's interest. I like his music and am glad that he's been getting more exposure in recent years. I believe I also have Tomas Svoboda's 4th & 6th Symphonies and Rouse's 5th Symphony.

On the matter of withdrawn symphonies, there is a private recording of Persichetti's First Symphony, in a rehearsal reading with Howard Hanson and his Eastman students. Let's also remember that Diamond wrote an early, withdrawn symphony, which is on YT.

While I try very hard to be fair, open-minded and judicious in my comments on most music and musicians, I regret that Roy Harris' 13th Symphony strikes me as an embarrassment richly deserving its oblivion. I say this having great respect for Harris' music in general and fondness for many of his works. I suppose that a more professional performance than the one on YT might possibly present the work in a better light, but I'm not sure there's much there worth salvaging regardless of the quality of the performance or recording. After hearing all the other Harris symphonies and wondering why the 13th hadn't surfaced, when it finally did the reason was quite obvious, disappointingly so.
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« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2018, 11:42:53 pm »

I cannot but agree with you, Maris, regarding the Roy Harris. It is really pretty dreadful and it was a terrible disappointment to me when I first heard it

I should be taking delivery of the Kevin Puts Symphony No.2 and the Diamond No.6 tomorrow but of the others you mention the one which I would most like to hear is the Christopher Rouse No.5. If you can make it available I would be most grateful
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Toby Esterhase
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« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2018, 11:58:24 pm »

Hillmar Luckhardt but it seems quite difficult
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relm1
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« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2018, 01:21:23 am »

Your lists are invariably useful and interesting, Colin. It's great that you codify and disseminate what more often that not are random observations kicking around in the back of some of our minds! While I'm a completist at heart as well and would love to see many of these works recorded and more widely available in good sound and performances, I can at least offer forum members an opportunity to hear some of the works mentioned in your list and by others in this thread, that are not already here in our Downloads folder.

I have live performances of Kevin Puts' Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2 and will be happy to upload them here if there's interest. I like his music and am glad that he's been getting more exposure in recent years. I believe I also have Tomas Svoboda's 4th & 6th Symphonies and Rouse's 5th Symphony.

On the matter of withdrawn symphonies, there is a private recording of Persichetti's First Symphony, in a rehearsal reading with Howard Hanson and his Eastman students. Let's also remember that Diamond wrote an early, withdrawn symphony, which is on YT.

While I try very hard to be fair, open-minded and judicious in my comments on most music and musicians, I regret that Roy Harris' 13th Symphony strikes me as an embarrassment richly deserving its oblivion. I say this having great respect for Harris' music in general and fondness for many of his works. I suppose that a more professional performance than the one on YT might possibly present the work in a better light, but I'm not sure there's much there worth salvaging regardless of the quality of the performance or recording. After hearing all the other Harris symphonies and wondering why the 13th hadn't surfaced, when it finally did the reason was quite obvious, disappointingly so.

Wow, a treasure trove!  Please upload Kevin Puts' symphony No. 1.  I have Marin Alsop's fantastic west coast premiere with the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra that I was present at of No. 2.  I also want Tomas Svoboda's 4th and 6th, and Rouse's 5th.  Coincidentally, I am listening to his No. 4 at this very moment.  I would also love Rouse's Organ Concerto which I heard live by the LA Phil and it was fantastic if you have it. 
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