MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs
 

Presto Music CD retailer
 
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for
advertisements

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

TROUBADISC
Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews


FOGHORN Classics

Alexandra-Quartet
Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews


All HDTT reviews


Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World


all Nimbus reviews



all tudor reviews


Follow us on Twitter


Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews



all Bridge reviews


all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews


All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews

 

Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

 


Support us financially by purchasing this from
Stephen Douglas BURTON (b. 1943)
Symphony No. 2 Ariel (1977)
Diane Curry (mezzo); Stephen Dickson (baritone);
Syracuse Symphony Orchestra/Christopher Keene
rec. April 1978, Syracuse, New York
BRIDGE 9436 [51:25]

Stephan Douglas Burton is an American composer best known for his music for voice. His opera The Duchess of Malfi had a very successful premiere in 1978 and is still occasionally heard while his symphony Songs of the Tulpehocken was long available on a Louisville First Editions LP. The Ariel symphony dates from 1977 and further demonstrates the composer’s ability to write for voices and orchestra.

The Ariel symphony originated in the composer’s desire to create a modern-day counterpart to Mahler’s Das Lied von Der Erde. In Burton’s symphony the text is taken from seven poems by the American poetess Sylvia Plath with the poems compressed into five movements. The first movement is based on the poems “Ariel” and “The Night Dances”. Burton’s vocal line in the “Ariel” section is not always grateful but he ably captures the poem’s rhythmic strength and the transition to “The Night Dances” is very effective. Burton’s writing is more fluent in this second section and truly evocative of the text.

The second movement contains the poems “Contusion” and “Fever 103” and Burton demonstrates real imagination in setting both texts as well as a masterly handling of the orchestra. Less impressive is the third movement, “Paralytic”, which seems merely to tread the same ground as the first two movements. More striking is “Daddy” which details Plath’s feelings at both the death of her father - when she was 8 years old - and at the breakup of her marriage to the poet Ted Hughes. The drive and emotional intensity is high throughout this movement.

The last movement, The Moon and the Yew Tree is Burton’s counterpart to “Der Abschied” in Das Lied von der Erde. It is on a large scale and covers a large amount of emotional territory before slowly dying away. It’s a fitting end to the whole symphony.

This recording was produced just after the premiere of the Ariel Symphony and with all the original performers. They give committed performances and this disc serves to remind us of the loss entailed in the early deaths of both Christopher Keene and Stephen Dickson. The 1978 recording has been re-mastered for this release and the sound is quite good. Bridge is to be commended for bringing back a notable example of late 20th century American romanticism.

William Kreindler

Track listing
1) Ariel-The Night Dances [11:33]
2) Contusion-Fever 103 [9:09]
3) Paralytic [6:00]
4) Daddy [10:59]
5) The Moon and the Yew Tree [13:42]