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  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


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Norman DELLO JOIO (b.1913)
Air Power - symphonic suite (1956) [37.03]
John VINCENT (1902-1977)

Symphonic Poem after Descartes (1958) [18.57]
Symphony in D - a Festival Piece in one movement (1956) [19.13]
Philadelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy
rec. 14 Mar 1957 (Dello Joio); 4 Jan 1959 (Descartes); 14 Apr 1957 (Symphony). AAD stereo
American Archives Series
ALBANY TROY 250 [75.54]

We know we are in safe hands when the author of the notes is John Proffitt. His guideis extensive and thankfully dense with facts rather than the usual attitudinising or retreat into technical undergrowth and embalming fluid.

Dello Joio's score for TV (an ambitiously confident co-production between the CBS network and the USAF) is easy on the ear. This is high-rolling film music like a ripe cross between Korngold and Walton, both in grandeur and sentiment (Lonely Pilot's Letter Home). There is also some olde-worlde Edwardian charm (à la Barber's Souvenirs) and a post-card Russian dance (a fine curio of that moment in time around 1943-1945 when Russo-American relations were blissfully allied) indebted to Khachaturyan and Gliere. There is a typically gong-darkened Japanese interlude and the intoxicating optimistic excitement of Liberators. Not profound music then but memorable and full of colour.

John Vincent will be known to even fewer than Persichetti and Dello Joio. John Proffitt writes about him in great detail in the booklet. Vincent's music bubbles with Respighian effulgence and brass textures but tempered with a puritan's rod of iron. Some gestures - usually string-led - echo the symphonies of Howard Hanson (himself a Respighi pupil) though without Hanson's towering thematic invention and manner. Vincent toyed with calling the Descartes work 'Symphony No. 2' - an idea he eventually abandoned. His only true Symphony was written in 1954 and revised several times. It is in one movement and is an essay in jubilation across music which shares character with the finale of Rachmaninov's Third Symphony but with an accent that is very much US 1940s symphonic. Evidently the level of hiss in the tape of the Symphony is quite high but harmless if you fix on the plot.

The tapes are all ex-Columbia Masterworks early stereo. They seem to have been in very good heart so we owe thanks to CBS's archivist-librarians as well as to Albany for their determination to issue this music.

Two sober and sturdy symphonic works from Vincent matched with Dello Joio's often exuberant memento of American post-war confidence.

Rob Barnett

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