Full many a gem
aburns57 | Colorado Spring, CO United States | 06/12/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"An ideal introduction to the music of David Diamond (b. 1915), this CD served, at least for a time, to bring attention to a neglected American master.Diamond's music blends Romantic and neo-classical elements; it is superbly crafted, distinctively personal, readily accessible, and universal in appeal--a welcome relief from the noisy, chaotic offerings of many of his contemporaries. If you like the music of Walter Piston, Howard Hanson, Roy Harris, Randall Thompson, Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, and William Schuman, odds are you will also like Diamond, who merits a distinguished position in the pantheon of American orchestral composers. Like Hanson, Thompson, and Barber, the specifically American elements in Diamond's musical language are subtle, and like Piston, Harris, and Schuman, Diamond is first and foremost a symphonist. This disc presents excellent recordings of perhaps his two finest symphonies.The Second is a grand war-time piece, lasting nearly 43 minutes. It's an epic symphony, in the tradition of Bruckner and Shostakovich (two composers who might come to mind as you listen to this work). Whereas most great American symphonies strike one as being relatively "busy" and compact, Diamond's utterance here unfolds at a leisurely pace, ushering one toward genuinely sublime pinnacles of expression. Its impact is immediate and deep. When the Boston Symphony Orchestra finished rehearsing it for the first time, the players broke into spontaneous applause. I honestly can't think of a more expansive and ambitious symphony by an American composer--perhaps only the "Thirds" of Hanson, Schuman, and Copland approach it in this regard.The Fourth is a much more compact and perhaps even more assured and personal work. It's a scintillating, gem-like study in contrasting moods with a magical, atmospheric opening. The Concerto for Small Orchestra makes a very fine bonus work, in which lively fanfares alternate with introspective contrapuntal passages.Unfortunately, Delos has apparently gone out of business. The good news is that Naxos is now reissuing some of their recordings. One hopes that they will pick up where Delos left off on this cycle of Diamond orchestral recordings by the incomparable Schwarz/Seattle."
An Overlooked American Composer
aburns57 | 07/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am so pleased that the Seattle Symphony has released this series of CD's with music by composer David Diamond. There is something distinctively American about Diamond's style but without sounding like Copland. The 2nd and 4th Symphonies are very accessible for neophyte Art Music listeners yet they are sophisticated enough to make one wonder why we don't hear more or know more about this National Treasure. I hope that Seattle continues to record and release these works: they well deserve attention."