Wonderful music magnificently recorded
Larry VanDeSande | Mason, Michigan United States | 12/20/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I didn't expect something this wonderful from the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra when I found this performance of Bernard Herrmann's Symphony No. 1. Herrmann is doubtless most well known for his fantastic film music ranging from "Psycho" to "Journey to the Center of the Earth".
His musical imagination is effectively on display in sonata form in the symphony, a boisterous piece where the brass prevail in all four movements. The obvious influence of Mahler and Bruckner show through the symphonic canvass, which is rich in detail and interesting throughout. The other American music on the disk, Schumann's "New England Tryptich", is better performed than when I last heard it on a Naxos CD that accompanied a recording of that composer's Violin Concerto.
Special plaudits go to the recording itself, which was made in the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra's home hall. It is clear, rich, detailed and has marvelous depth. It is one of the best recordings I have ever heard of brass-domainated music given that reverb is kept to a minimum and there is wonderful clarity throughout the recording.
I don't know anything about conductor James Sedares but he seems to very well understand the combined canon of Herrmann and Schuman, which sound very much alike in this recording. No lover of 20th century American music should let this remarkable issue pass without at least one hearing."
Herrmann's Symphony! Excellent.
John Dziadecki | Louisville, CO USA | 10/05/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, Herrmann wrote this marvelous symphony in 1941. It is a distinctly rich work for full scale orchestra. Each of the four movements has a character of its own ranging from introspective searching to joyfull triumph. There is no specific thematic material that ties the movements together but the whole is quite satifying. Herrmann knew how to use orchestral color across a broad canvass. He was a master composer. And his symphony merits more exposure in the orchestral repertoire.
Schuman's New England Triptych, written in 1956, compliments the Herrmann very well on this disc. Again, each of the three movements have their own identity and work together nicely. The whole bears repeated listening.
James Sedares and the Phoenix Symphony perform both works admirably. The 1992 recording is DDD. Informative liner notes and a great photograph of Herrmann at the Grand Canyon. A keeper."