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Leroy ANDERSON (1908-1975)
Orchestral Music - Volume 2
Woodbury Fanfare ¶ (1959) [0:55]
A Harvard Festival ¶(1969) [6:13]
Forgotten Dreams * (1954) [2:25]
Whistling Kettle ¶(1966) [1:44]
Horse and Buggy (1951) [3:46]
The Waltzing Cat (1950) [2:36]
Home Stretch (1962) [2:48]
The Girl in Satin (1953) [2:19]
March of the Two Left Feet (1970) [2:24]
Waltz Around the Scale ¶(1970) [2:43]
Lullaby of the Drums ¶ (1970) [3:05]
Jazz Legato (1938) [1:45]
Jazz Pizzicato (1938) [1:58]
Song of the Bells (1953) [3:30]
Song of Jupiter  # (arr. of Handel: Semele, HWV 58, ‘Where’er you walk) 1951 [4:13]
Suite of Carols for String Orchestra (1955) [12:27]
Alistair Young (piano)*, David McCallum (trumpet)#
BBC Concert Orchestra/Leonard Slatkin
rec. The Colosseum, Town Hall, Watford, UK, 12 April, 5 September 2007
World Premiere Recording
NAXOS 8.559356 [54:51]
Experience Classicsonline


This CD is the second volume in Naxos’s ‘Leroy Anderson Orchestral Music’ series (see review of Volume 1; there has also beeen a Favourites disc issued) and it includes, as you can see from the header, no less than five world premiere recordings. First is the curtain raiser, the imposing A Woodbury Fanfare, written for the tercentenary of the composer’s adopted home town in Connecticut; it consists of a series of fanfares for four trumpets. A Harvard Festival weaves together four student songs into a joyful, exhilarating whole with a noble, dignified climax. The third premiere, Whistling Kettle, based on a student work, is built around a high violin drone on E to represent a kettle; it has the qualities of folksong; sadly it was subsequently withdrawn by Anderson. Waltz Around the Scale is a graceful series of waltzes against ascending and descending major and minor scales. The fifth and final premiere is Lullaby of the Drums - another piece inexplicably withdrawn by the composer - is more of a relaxed march than a lullaby with tapping snare drum, pounding timpani and a Latinized tattoo of bongos - a real find this latter one.
 
Interestingly the Gramophone Classical Music Guide chooses to ignore Leroy Anderson completely, not so its rival Penguin Guide. Neither does Maestro Leonard Slatkin; he is no stranger to the music of Leroy Anderson for he recorded an album of his music with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra for RCA between 1993 and 1995. (09026 68048 2) that included many of the composer’s most popular tunes such as Blue Tango, The Syncopated Clock, Sandpaper Ballet and The Typewriter. Then and for this new release, Slatkin delivers smiling, unabashed performances full of joie de vivre.
 
There are some Leroy Anderson favourites included in this album including: Horse and Buggy with its easy-going trotting tune, the humour of the coy string glissandos that comprise The Waltzing Cat, and the well-known, dreamy tune that is Forgotten Dreams - one of those hypnotic melodies that one just cannot forget.  Song of the Bells was another Anderson popular hit, and another lovely waltz strongly featuring tubular bells. Jazz Legato and Jazz Pizzicato come from 1938; the Legato piece was never as popular as its well-known companion Pizzicato but both are delightful. Again, not quite so popular as Blue Tango was another Anderson tango, The Girl in Satin included here. The presto Home Stretch has all the excitement of the racetrack. The comedy number March of the Two Left Feet, complete with comic pratfall effects, was inspired by a P.G. Wodehouse story, The Man With Two Left Feet.  I
 
In rather more serious vein is Song of Jupiter, Anderson’s sensitive arrangement of Handel’s ‘Where’er you walk’ with the fine trumpet playing of David McCallum. The concert’s most substantial piece ends the programme: the Suite of Carols for String Orchestra. Written imaginatively in neo-classical elegance, Anderson commented, “I didn’t just want to make medleys of them (the carols), that’s the usual thing…In treating them instrumentally, I thought I’d try to get something that would give a little scope and be a little different.”  
 
Slatkin delivers performances full of vitality and there are no less that five world premieres to savour. A must for all Leroy Anderson fans.   
 
Ian Lace
 


 


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