- Audio CD (29 Sept. 2008)
- SPARS Code: DDD
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Naxos
- ASIN: B001FENYDU
- Other Editions: MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 133,295 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Copland: Dance Symphony
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This second Naxos disc of Copland Symphonies opens with Symphony No. 1, an arrangement of the 1924 Symphony for Organ and Orchestra. Copland was especially fond of his Short Symphony (Symphony No. 2) on account of its complex, irregular rhythms and clear textures. The so-called Dance Symphony, described by the composer as 'a large symphonic work' (hence the Symphony title), is derived from his early vampire ballet Grohg, inspired by the 1921 German expressionist film Nosferatu. Copland wrote: 'If the first movement is thin, dainty and pointed, the second movement is songful and sustained. The third movement is characterized by violence and syncopation.'
''[Marin Alsop's] typecasting as an interpreter of the American symphonists is warranted.'' --Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Customer Reviews
This recording showcases the early symphonies very well. The First symphony, as SJ Bonsor points out, removes the organ with wind instruments but failed to make the repertoire in the way that the original did to some extent. Whilst not very original stylistically, it is an impressive debut - very French with some post Sacre Stravinsky and early Prokofiev bombast thrown in. In three movements it is superbly scored and makes a convincing structure.
The Dance Symphony, whilst based on his Vampire ballet, sounds even more French with a hint of eastern exoticism. The opening movement is rhythmically nervous and exciting combined with more melancholic and lyrical material. The dream like central movement reaches a dramatic climax before the mockery, jazzy dancing and cross rhythms of the finale. Ballet based it maybe but it still works as a symphony. It is certainly as convincing as any of Prokofiev's adaptations of ballet and opera material in his Third and Fourth Symphonies.
The Short Symphony certainly more clearly anticipates the open textures and harmonies of the mature Copland but with great rhythmic complexity. The influence of neo classical Stravinsky is greatest here but this music dances in a way that Stravinsky's neo classical symphonies and concertos do not. It's for that reason that I've removed one star because The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra pick their way through the complex rhythms rather too carefully to give it the bounce and life that it requires.Read more ›
The Symphony No.1 is an arrangement of Copland's symphony for Organ and Orchestra from 1924. As the booklet notes point out, the arrangement was primarily made so that the work could attract a greater number of performances through employing a conventional sized orchestra, yet the irony is that the original version has generally received more outings than the arrangement (comparison between the two shows how Copland has revoiced the organ part to integrate it into the orchestral palette, yet the works can be enjoyed as separate entities, each a different `take' on the same material).
The symphony as recorded on this disc is muscular and compelling, with a typical no-nonsense clear-water orchestration, and a Stravinskian construction.
The Symphony No.2- otherwise known as the `Short symphony- is, at 15 minutes long, about the same length as Prokofiev's classical symphony. It employs an even more concentrated neo-classical Stravinskian sound world, and there are distinct echoes of the `wide-open prairie' sound of Copland's ballets.
With its complicated rhythms, this is not a work for anything less than a virtuoso orchestra and the Bournemouth Symphony do not disappoint. Alsop gives the piece a continuous onward momentum, as vital here as with Stravinsky's Dumbarton Oaks. Without such intensity, the piece would soon unravel. Instead it unfolds with a satisfying lyrical logic.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Javier Ruiz de la Presa, México
Maybe it's me, but I never heard of the conductor or the orchestra. But I have to say that the music presented very well - probably as good as a well known conductor and orchestra. By the way the recording was excellant audio-wise. It really exersized my dolby surround sound receiver even though not an SACD recording.
I highly recommend if you are a Copland fan - and even if you're not.