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Piston - Symphonies Nos 2 and 6 [CD]

Walter Piston , Gerard Schwarz , Seattle Symphony Orchestra Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 6.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Piston - Symphonies Nos 2 and 6 + Piston - Symphony No 4 + Piston: Violin Concertos 1, 2,  Fantasia
Price For All Three: 18.02

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Product details

  • Orchestra: Seattle Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Gerard Schwarz
  • Composer: Walter Piston
  • Audio CD (3 Nov 2003)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B00009ZY9F
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 229,960 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Symphony No. 2: Moderato10:09Album Only
Listen  2. Symphony No. 2: Adagio10:48Album Only
Listen  3. Symphony No. 2: Allegro 4:330.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Symphony No. 6: Fluendo espressivo 6:390.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Symphony No. 6: Scherzo: Leggerissimo vivace 3:340.69  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Symphony No. 6: Adagio sereno11:21Album Only
Listen  7. Symphony No. 6: Allegro energico 3:480.69  Buy MP3 

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Piston Symphonies 21 Jan 2014
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Received very quickly from the source. Excellent quality. If you like mid twentieth century classical American symphonies, this is warmly recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A welcome reissue 10 Mar 2005
By D. C. Cannon - Published on
Format:Audio CD
Walter Piston is a great American composer and his neglect is a shame. These are two fine mid century American symphonies - tonal and neo-classical in form but definitely modern. The second is a lively war symphony and the first movement includes one of Piston's few "Americanisms" with a jazz tinged second theme. The Sixth is an equally lovely and melodic work, using such instruments as the harp for an unusually lush sound. Originally issued on the Delos label, Naxos is doing us a great service re-releasing these pieces. As one critic noted, a Piston symphony goes out into the world "with buttons buttoned and pants creased." Do not let that fool you - these are well made and handsome works that any music lover can enjoy.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two of Piston's Finest 27 Aug 2003
By J Scott Morrison - Published on
Format:Audio CD
Naxos continues its welcome reissue of orchestral music of Walter Piston (1894-1976) performed by Gerard Schwarz conducting the Seattle Symphony originally published in the early 1990s on Delos. They have shuffled the contents of the original discs. This one contains Symphony No. 2 and Symphony No. 6, surely two of Piston's most ingratiating scores.
The first movement of Symphony No. 2, written during the Second World War and with an unmistakable American flavor, contains two memorable themes, the opening one a long serious string melody followed then by a raffishly jazzy tune with catchy syncopations. The working-out turns the first theme into a delicious canon. The serene Adagio has a Coplandesque simplicity and one of Piston's loveliest melodies, played first by clarinet and then taken up by other winds. The Finale, a kind of rondo, is propelled to an exciting finish by syncopated brass and percussion. This is the Piston made familiar by his most popular score, 'The Incredible Flutist.'
The Sixth Symphony was written for the 75th birthday of the Boston Symphony in 1955 and premièred by them under Charles Munch. Movement I is string-dominated, with flashes of harp and piccolo, and is richly harmonized. A long flowing melody features prominently. The second movement is a scherzo with whirling leggerissimo strings punctuated by manic percussion. There is an undercurrent of anxiety. The Adagio that follows, then, is a welcome island of calm. The cello, against impressionistic harmonies, sings an alluring theme, later handed over to the oboe and other winds. The finale, Allegro energico, returns us to bright triadic harmonies and is unmistakably American in its melodic outlines and jazzy syncopations. The work concludes with a restatement of the symphony's opening theme in glorious full-throated peroration.
The Seattle Symphony, from their long familiarity with Piston's music, plays these complex scores with the kind of complete control that leads to the illusion of spontaneity. They obviously loved this music, as do those of us who have been made familiar with it through their recordings.
Total timing is a bit short at 50:56.
Scott Morrison
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb music in strong performances 10 Dec 2009
By G.D. - Published on
Format:Audio CD
I heartily welcome any other installment in Naxos's series of Piston's orchestral music, and truly hope that we will eventually have a complete symphony cycle. Piston might just have been the greatest American symphonist ever (stressing `might') and is at least worthy of being placed among the great composers of the 20th century. Piston has sometimes been compared to Roussel, mostly given the slightly French-inspired take on neo-classicism, but also some of the atmosphere, I'd guess - but Piston's musical language is harmonically more spicy and craggy. One of the distinguishing traits of Piston's music is at least the clarity and cogency of his arguments; it is elegant, vibrant and rhythmically vital, and often tuneful accessible. That goes for both of the works on this disc, at least - they are exactly imaginative, ever-interesting, never outstaying their welcome and brimful of good ideas, skillfully and inventively developed. I have to admit that I haven't heard any alternative performances (there is one of the second by Tilson Thomas on Deutsche Grammophon which I suspect to be a strong competitor, and there exists a Charles Munch recording of the sixth), but the performances here sound excellent to me, full of the sparkle and vitality the music needs, idioimatic and excellently recorded. Strongly recommended
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Near Perfection 1 Feb 2012
By Houyhnhnm - Published on
Format:Audio CD
These are two of my favorite American symphonies, under-appreciated in most catalogs of "the great symphonies." When I think of neoclassicism in music, at least in regards to the symphony, I think of these two expert constructions by Piston. They are not cerebral or ironic. They are eloquent and (this almost sounds like a put-down, but isn't) sincere. Next to Martinu's later symphonies and Hindemith's best ("Mathis der Maler"; Symphonia Serena), these are grand efforts at the Big Statements while remaining, somehow, unpretentious.

I purchased these recordings on the original Delos label. I assume that the Naxos reprints, here, are just as good. Missing from this re-issue is the Sinfonietta, included almost as filler on the Delos disc. Though the Sinfonietta is a fine work, it disturbed the mood of the Delos presentation, for the forces marshaled in the Sinfonietta employed a chamber orchestra, and the general effect more strident. So this disc should be a great one to put on and not worry about programming the playing. One should be able to listen to this over and over. Highly recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An American Classic 23 Sep 2013
By M. De Sapio - Published on
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
For anyone interested in getting a taste of American classical music beyond the usual Copland and Barber warhorses, this CD of Walter Piston's two finest symphonies is an excellent place to start. What I like about Piston is that he mostly avoids the folksy Americanisms of Copland, for example, but still sounds distinctively American thanks to the energy, drive and expansiveness of his music. To paraphrase Piston's pupil Irving Fine (another outstanding composer whose music I recommend) Piston reminds us that "American" is more than New England meeting houses and barnyard dances, that a strong tradition of cosmopolitanism exists in America. The performances and recorded sound are excellent, my only complaint being a lack of sharpness in the rhythms in the Sixth Symphony's finale.
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