Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

 


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 


 
REVIEW



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

alternatively
CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Download: Classicsonline


Charles IVES (1874-1954)
New England Holidays Symphony: II. Decoration Day (1912-13) (ed. James Sinclair) [8:56]
The General Slocum* (1904) (realization by David G. Porter) [5:46]
Overture in g minor* (realization by David G. Porter) [8:24]
New England Holidays Symphony: III. The Fourth of July (1911-12) (realization by W. Shirley) [6:13]
Yale-Princeton Football Game (1897) (realization by James Sinclair) [2:27]
Postlude in F (originally for organ, 1989) (ed. K. Singleton) [4:54]
New England Holidays Symphony: IV. Thanksgiving and Forefathers’ Day (c.1914 from earlier sketches) (ed. J. Elkus) [16:36]
*World Première Recordings
Malmö Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Chorus/James Sinclair
rec. Konsertsalen, Malmö, Sweden, 19-21 June 2007 and 8-10 January 2008
NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559370 [53:16]

Experience Classicsonline

This is the fourth release in the Naxos series of recordings with James Sinclair of orchestral music by Charles Ives and it includes two world première recordings, The General Slocum and Overture in g minor, both presented in realisations by David Porter. It’s not as if the world has been pining for recordings of these works, but they are well worth hearing - the first commemorating the death of over a thousand people when a pleasure steamer blew up, the latter a Yale assignment, hardly recognisable as the work of Ives; like the first symphony, it might well have been written by Brahms or Dvořák. Despite which, I really like the First Symphony. I used to have the Abravanel recording on Vanguard; I must investigate the more recent offerings - will it be Sinclair/Naxos, Järvi/Chandos or Litton/Hyperion? - perhaps in a forthcoming Download Roundup.

Those who steer clear of Ives’ reputation as an enfant terrible may be reassured that there’s nothing really shocking in this programme, the main part of which is made up of three movements from his Holidays Symphony. Even the glorious chaos at the end of The Fourth of July is good fun, evocative of a boy’s-eye view of the parade and the marching bands. The marvel is that Ives composed this work long before it became fashionable to write about aleatoric music, polytonality and polyrhythm.

I’m a little puzzled why it was necessary to carve up the symphony, with its first movement, Washington’s Birthday, on another Naxos CD, 8.559087, and its movements separated by the other items here. I know that the four movements were originally conceived as separate tone poems, but it would have been more logical to keep them together. There would have been enough space on the new recording to have included the whole symphony, even at the cost of duplicating that one movement.

You’ll see from the Musicweb survey of recordings of the symphony that I’m not alone in this preference, though James Sinclair’s recording with the Northern Sinfonia of Washington’s Birthday on the earlier CD receives an otherwise strong recommendation. Whatever reservations I may have, I liked the contrast between the quiet opening of Decoration Day, at the start of the CD, and Thanksgiving and Forefathers’ Day, which makes a resounding conclusion to the recording.

Apart from the two premières, there are two other rarities on the new CD, the Postlude which Ives originally conceived as an organ piece and subsequently orchestrated, and the commemoration of a famous Yale-Princeton varsity match. They are both pleasant enough, though hardly vintage Ives, and the performances make a good case for them.

James Sinclair is a noted Ives scholar and his earlier recordings for Naxos have been well received, so it comes as no surprise that everything here sounds thoroughly idiomatic. Those earlier recordings have been with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland and the Northern Sinfonia of England. Unlike the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, who recorded Symphony No.2 and the Robert Browning Orchestra for Naxos with kennethe Schermerhorn at the helm, neither of these is exactly to the Ivesian manner born, any more than the Malmö performers on the current CD and on Sinclair’s recording of Three Orchestral Sets, yet everything here continues the good work of the earlier discs.

Stephen Hall made that earlier Malmö recording of the Orchestral Sets his Recording of the Month (8.559353 - see review), not least because it brought the three works together. If I am marginally less impressed with the current CD, it’s for the opposite reason, the disintegration of the Holidays Symphony.

The recording is good, with a wide dynamic range - from the almost inaudible opening chords of Decoration Day to the cataclysmic sound of the boat’s boiler exploding in The General Slocum and the conflicting marching bands in The Fourth of July.

The presentation is good, too, with notes, by Jan Swafford, which are readable and informative and a wonderful collage on the front cover, painted by James Bigelow Hall, grandnephew of Ives.

My review copy came with the Naxos American Classics Catalog, a reminder of the impressive credentials which this series has already established for itself. The quality of the current offering is no exception. It prompts me to investigate Sinclair’s other Ives recordings and several more works in the series which I’ve missed out on.

Brian Wilson

see also review by Bob Briggs  


 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools






Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.