Eclectic collection, Russo's Three Pieces first time on CD
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Eclectic collection of some well known and some previously unavailable works. The first appearance of the complete "Three Pieces for Blues Band and Symphony Orchestra" by Williams Russo and the Siegel-Schwall Band. Excellent recordings. Bargain price."
Just As Its Title Says: CLASSICS IN AMERICA
Bill Board | God's Wrath, Ohio | 08/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"OK, so all the "great composers" maybe weren't from Austria, Germany, or Italy. This CD, right here, justifies the quite justifable elitest attitude (also known as "Patriotism"). Maybe another title, "America's Greatest Hits" might have been appropriate, but then, a dunce or two would be whining for "A Horse With No Name," so "Classics" is it. Just look at who and what is represented on these cds: George Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue" (you might remember THAT if you saw "Fantasia 2000") Leonard Bernstein conducts his own beautiful "Dances From West Side Story" (he also conducted Gershwin). There's John Phillip Sousa's "Stars And Stripes Forever," a piece of music so beautiful, so astoundingly patriotism-inducing that it'd even make a.....democrat stand up with his hand over his heart! The ubquitous (and greatly missed) Bernstein conducts Ives' "Central Park In The Dark," and "The Unanswered Question." And that's just the FIRST CD! CAN you improve on perfection? CD #2 is a resounding YES! Here's Berbstein again conducting Samuel Barber's "Adagio For String," and Aaron Copland's beautiful "Appalachin Spring." And here's where the rest of the cd hits you like an enormous amyl-nitrate rush: Seiji Ozawa conducts the San Francisco Orchestra performing William Russo's unvbelievable "Three Piece For Blues Band And Orchestra." Ozawa, the story goes, enjoyed "going out for a cold one" after orchestra rehearsals, and he was especially was fond of a local blues band, The Seigel-Schwall Band. He commissioned his composer friend, William Russo, to compose something that the Band could could perfom with the orchestra. And I know you're thinking, "OH yeah, Procol Harum Live In Edmonton, 'Conquistador,' yeah." NO: As much as I ADORE Procol Harum, there is NO comparison! The Seigel-Schwall Band was strictly a BLUES band, and Russo - whew! composed three pieces that not only altered, but definitely enhanced the Band's electric blues. Like I'm so fond of saying,"By Alteration, Enhances!" My brother is a classically trained symphonic musician, and one time - wow, 25 years ago - he was playing "Three Pieces" on my battered stereo while I was in the shower. And I couldn't WAIT to "dry off," and run screaming in the romm, "WAHT IS THAT YOU'RE PLAYING?" Trust me on this folks, you won't believe it either - and you'll thank Heaven that it's on a CD, because if it was an album, you'd wear the grroves right out by replaying it over and over. And OLD ON, it ain't finished yet: the remainder of the CD features Arthur Feilder conducting the Boston Pops Orchestra performin 3 of the fantastically-talented but almost unknown, Scott Joplin. You remember that great piano music in the movie,"The Sting?" That was Scott Joplin - and he's represented here with "The Entertainer" (I dare you to keep from tapping your right foot when you listen to this),"The Sugar Cane Rag," and the "Maple Leaf Rag." The cd closes with an undiscovered GEM, excerpts fro Joplin's opera "Tremonshia."
This is pure, undiluted AMERICAN music, people. PLEASE do yourself a favor and put down the metal, the "alt," the rapping, the country 'n western, and even my beloved Rock and Roll for
about 2 and a half hours of some of the most incredible - and not THE LEAST BIT BORING! - Classical Music. Music that AMERICA was responsible for!"