Howard HANSON (1896-1981)
Concerto for Organ, Harp and Strings (1926; for chamber orchestra 1941) [16:09] Nymphs and Satyr Ballet Suite (1979) [12:51] Fantasy Variations on a Theme of Youth for Piano and Strings (1951) [11:00]
Serenade for Flute, Harp, and Strings (1945) [8:28] Summer Seascape No. 2 (1965) [8:28] Pastorale for Oboe, Harp and Strings (1948-49 orchestrated 1950) [7:29]
Joseph Jackson (organ); Doris
Hall-Galati (clarinet); Holly Blake (bassoon); Gabriela Imreh, (piano); Andrew
Bolotowsky (flute); Adriana Linares (viola);
Jonathan Blumenfeld (oboe); Jacqueline Pollauf (harp)
Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra/Daniel Spalding
rec. March 2005, First Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
DDD NAXOS 8.559251 [61:28]
The most involving work
here as far as I was concerned is also the largest – Hanson’s
Concerto for Organ, Harp and Strings which dates from 1926
but is heard here in its 1941 expansion. And how well the
rather Nordic misterioso element is allowed to marinate
at the work’s beginning. The organ is adroitly balanced – it
couldn’t have been easy – and the harp is rightly prominent
in the balance. The initially subdued organ part gradually
expands and increases until in the work’s second half we
have a full scale terpsichorean ostinato. This is a work
of warmth, of lyrical appeal and considerable attraction.
ballet suite Nymphs and Satyr is a late work, having
been written two years before Hanson’s death. It was his
last completed major score. He returned to earlier themes
of his to construct a thirteen-minute four-movement suite.
Two solo instruments take important roles – the clarinet
and the bassoon. It’s a work that also discloses some pertinent
influences even as late as 1979. Those Sibelian horn-calls
summon up gaunt, vast vistas but there is also Francophile
filigree writing as well. The scherzo for the bassoon has
a vaguely operatic air to it.
Variations on a Theme of Youth dates from Hanson’s
middle years and is a warmly urgent series of variations.
The slow section is particularly appealing. It has a sense
of isolation and withdrawal that hints of the banishments
of the past. The energising piano part in the finale moves
forward to a more serene reflectiveness. The Serenade
for Flute, Harp, and Strings was a courtship gift for
his future wife and is suitably affecting.
keen and elegant writing for the discreet viola in Summer
Seascape No. 2. Finally there’s the Pastorale which
was written in the late 1940s and fully orchestrated for
Ormandy’s Philadelphians in 1950. It has its moments of urgency
but is predominately another warmly lyrical effusion, sensitively
is a fine selection though one must be honest and note that
Hanson is operating on lower voltage here. Nevertheless this
is a tempting and bargain priced programme, excellently performed
also review by Paul
Cook(Bargain of the Month - November 06)
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