One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger              Founding Editor: Rob Barnett              Contact Seen and Heard here

Some items
to consider

  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
  • Mozart Flute Quartets
  • Schubert complete piano works
  • Sammartini: 6 Concerti grossi
  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
 
Tudor



CD and Blue-ray Audio


CD and Blue-ray Audio


CPE Bach Cantatas
a revelation


Biber: Sacred Choral Works
Don't miss it


Jonathan Dove


Tommie Haglund
Unique and Powerful music


Organ Fireworks


Highly Entertaining


A triumphant performance


Bruckner Symphony 4
One of the finest I have heard


A most joy-inducing recording


A winning partnership


A Lohengrin to treasure.

 

REVIEW
Plain text for smartphones & printers


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical



Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Dvořák and America
Joseph HOROWITZ (b.1948) and Michael BECKERMAN (b.1951)
A Hiawatha melodrama after Dvořák (1994-2012) [32.50]
William Arms FISHER (1861-1948)
Going Home (1922) [6.13]
Antonin DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
Violin Sonatina II: Larghetto (1893) [4.32]
Humoresques Nos. 4 and 7 (1894) [6.02]
American Suite (1894-1895) [20.26]
Arthur FARWELL (1872-1952)
Navajo War Dance No.2 Op.29 (1904) [3.13]
Pawnee Horses No.2 Op.20 (1905) [1.17]
Pawnee Horses (choral version) Op.102 (1937) [2.09]
Kevin Deas (narrator/bass-baritone); Zhou Qian (violin); Edmund Battersby (piano); Benjamin Pasternack (piano); Michael Worfe (tenor)
University of Texas Chamber Singers/James Morrow
PostClassical Ensemble/Angel Gil-Ordóńez
rec. Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, College Park, Maryland, USA, 2 March 2013; Potton Hall, Westleton, Suffolk, UK, 2-3 September 1998 (Sonatina); Toronto Centre for the Arts, Canada, 20 August 2003 (Navajo War Dance); Bates Recital Hall, Austin, Texas, USA, 5 May 2013 (Pawnee Horses, choral version)
NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559777 [76:41]

To quote, including at least one if not two typos, the composer behind this mélange, Joseph Horowitz, ‘In musical parlance, the term “melodrama” refers to a composition mating music with the spoken work’.

Horowitz has opted to select the Prologue and half a dozen chapters from Longfellow’s poem The Song of Hiawatha. He asserts that during a sojourn in New York in the early 1890s Dvořák, who had already read the poem in a Czech translation, hoped to compose either an opera or at least a cantata on the subject. This melodrama is a speculative attempt at what such a work might have sounded like without in any way arguing the composer’s intent.

Some music by either Horowitz or conductor Angel Gil-Ordóńez has been added to bind it all together as well as music from Dvořák’s Violin Sonatina, a couple of Humoresques — one of them the familiar graceful one in G flat — and the original piano version of his American Suite; unfortunately not Dvořák’s own version for orchestra. All three, in complete form, are then included as fillers.

Have the CD booklet to hand when listening, if only to follow the text and catch the largely unfamiliar names of the various characters featured in the Song. Crucially the balance between music and ‘spoken word’ is the weakness of this disc and neither should be a distraction from the other. While Kevin Deas has an impressive voice, the recording ambience is over-resonant and too frequently words are lost when pitted against the 54-piece orchestra which is playing large segments of Dvořák’s New World Symphony or the vocal setting of its second movement by the composer’s pupil, William Arms Fisher (‘Going Home’).

Horowitz credits Dvořák with ‘largely inspiring the Indianist movement’, paving the way for its spearheading by the ‘insufficiently remembered Arthur Farwell’, who had a ‘lifelong reverence for the Native American’ (Piano Music Vol.1 ~~ The Gods of the Mountains). Best of his output is the a cappella version of ‘Pawnee Horses’, given an idiomatically bright performance by the University of Texas Chamber Singers.

The idea behind the disc is an interesting concept but distinctive performances from violinist Zhou Qian accompanied by Edmund Battersby and solo pianist Benjamin Pasternack only go to show that the melodrama will not displace Coleridge-Taylor’s Song of Hiawatha from the choral repertoire, let alone Dvořák’s evergreen New World Symphony.
 
Christopher Fifield