Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Music Webmaster Len Mullenger:

Capital of the World - complete ballet (1953) [32.23]
Symphony No. 5 The Joyous (1948) [23.28]
Archipelago (1933) [5.40]
Slovak State PO/Barry Kolman
rec 10-13 Oct & 4-5 Dec 1995 at the House of Arts, Kosice, Slovakia
CENTAUR CRC 2293 [61.27]

Amazon US

Antheil was born in Trenton, New Jersey, of Polish parentage. He was much more than the self-inflicted wound of 'Bad Boy of Music' would suggest.

The stamping energy of de Falla's Three-Cornered Hat runs through Antheil's ballet neck and neck with a 'World Fair' nonchalance, the feline elegance of Copland, Chabrier-style Hispanics, sweet string music, jazziness, a touch of Ravel's Rhapsodie Espagnole, even a hint of Scarmolin. The work is sassily presented without being suffocatingly brash. This is the complete version and is the only recording.

The Symphony No. 5 is in three movements, the first of which is an essay in hectic 'machine age' activity with a Russian 'edge'. Amongst this you can pick out Waxman's Ride to Dubno and even some Khachaturyan as the music sprints along at a wiry allegro. The adagio molto is alive with a deep tenderness speaking of vulnerable bloodied humanity. Amid music comparable with Barber's Adagio are hints of Shenandoah. The finale must have been influenced by Shostakovich's Eighth Symphony. The music snarls and bares its teeth before evolving into some extremely companionable geniality among gruff Arnoldian episodes for the brass.

The Antheil symphonies are as follows:-

Jazz Symphony (1925)
Symphony No. 1 in F major (1926)
Symphony No. 2 The American (1937)
Symphony No. 3 (1942)
Symphony No. 4 (1942)
Symphony No. 5 The Joyous (1948)
Symphony No. 6 (1949)

They are all in the process of being recorded by CPO and Naxos. We can hope that Ernest Toch's six symphonies will get the same treatment.

Archipelago has been recorded as a filler on the CPO disc. It is a 'postcard' collage with much in common with Capital of the World: pell-mell impressions of Gershwin - a companion to Candide and all those sparkling Gershwin overtures recorded by the Buffalo PO with Michael Tilson Thomas. This one struts along as if promenading some Cuban sea-front all dilapidated and peeling paint, breakers crashing over the concrete parade - that touch of Hollywood!

Centaur provide decent notes and a good deep and muscular recording

Rob Barnett

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