Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:

(1918-1990) On the Waterfront - Suite.
(1898-1979) Symphony No. 3 (1937).
(1900-1990) Billy the Kid.
Dallas Symphony Orchestra/Eduardo Mata.
Dorian DOR-90170 [DDD] [60'25]

Three archetypically American scores, each bearing the individual stamp of its creator, add up to a winner of a programme: on paper, at least.

Bernstein's On the Waterfront Suite (taken from the music to the film) is gritty, graphic music that nevertheless takes in more than its fair share of lyricism. The opening extended horn solo is beautifully phrased, and Mata is as responsive to the exciting fight scenes as he is to Bernstien's tender lyricism. The one major quibble is that the recording in this and throughout the disc needs more space to breathe and can tend to sound a little restricted at the higher dynamic levels.

Harris' Third Symphony is fairly well represented in the catalogue. Bernstein's live 1985 performance (originally coupled with William Schuman's Third) is absent at present, but his 1961 NYPO account remains, as does Koussevitzky's classic Boston version (Pearl GEMMCD9492, which also includes the First Symphony). Whilst not quite in the same league, Mata's tender, detailed approach pays handsome dividends. His pacing feels completely natural. The long-breathed melodies are full of feeling and the monumental passages are well captured.

The Copland seems a let down as a finale to this disc in comparison. Rhythms could be tauter at times, and more a sense of the theatre is needed.

This thoughtfully programmed disc is recommendable mainly, therefore, for the Harris with the Bernstein coming a close second. A recording which carried more body and, yes, guts, would have made all the difference.


Colin Clarke



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