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Roy Harris: Symphonies Nos 5 & 6 CD


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Marin Alsop has been Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra since 2007, a relationship now extended to 2015. Currently Conductor Emeritus of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Laureate of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, since 1992 she has also been Music Director of California’s prize-winning Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. She appears regularly ... Read more in Amazon's Marin Alsop Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Roy Harris: Symphonies Nos 5 & 6 + Roy Harris: Symphony 3, 4 'Folk Song Symphony' + Harris - Symphonies Nos 7 & 9
Price For All Three: £18.00

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Product details

  • Conductor: Marin Alsop
  • Composer: Roy Harris
  • Audio CD (18 Jan 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B002WEC6XQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 97,870 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.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Symphony No. 6, "Gettysburg": I. AwakeningBournemouth Symphony Orchestra 7:07£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Symphony No. 6, "Gettysburg": II. ConflictBournemouth Symphony Orchestra 6:15£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Symphony No. 6, "Gettysburg": III. DedicationBournemouth Symphony Orchestra 9:06Album Only
Listen  4. Symphony No. 6, "Gettysburg": IV. AffirmationBournemouth Symphony Orchestra 6:58£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Symphony No. 5: I. -Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra 5:32£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Symphony No. 5: II. -Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra10:04Album Only
Listen  7. Symphony No. 5: III. -Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra 8:34Album Only
Listen  8. AccelerationBournemouth Symphony Orchestra 7:14£0.89  Buy MP3 

Product Description

CD Description

Roy Harris made an indelible mark on American orchestral music, enlivening Old World symphonic traditions with New World individualism. Amid the background of war in Europe, he crafted his Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, the former dedicated to 'the heroic and freedom-loving people of our great ally, the Union of Soviet Republics', the latter, subtitled Gettysburg, to 'the Armed Forces of Our Nation'. The single-movement Acceleration was later reworked within the Sixth Symphony. In each piece, Harris's nationalistic fervour is underpinned by an abiding faith in the ability of the human spirit to triumph through adversity.

Review

''These are strong accounts, and admirers of the Third who want to explore Harris further won't be disappointed.'' Performance **** Recording **** --BBC Music Magazine,march 2010

''Excellent performances from Marin Alsop and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.'' --The Guardian

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jimmy P on 5 Feb 2010
Format: Audio CD
It's a shame really. The Bournemouth band are a terrific ensemble who have delivered some great discs over the last 50 years or so, and on a good day they can compete with the best orchestras in the world. And there isn't much in the way of competition for these Harris symphonies. But the whole venture feels lacklustre and uninspired - what should be imbued with the pioneering spirit of that great visionary Abraham Lincoln has been through finishing school and it just doesn't work for me. These works have to feel as if they've struggled to be born, they have to have massive energy, they need to power through to their flawed conclusions, rough edges and all, and to pull this off you need total conviction from your performers. These recordings feel drenched with Bournemouth drizzle, as if Sergio Leone had made "Once Upon a Time in the West of England".

That said, it's good to have a modern recording of the Fifth; the old Louisville effort under Robert Whitney was badly in need of an update. It's a problem piece, with the first movement feeling perfunctory at around 5 minutes in length, probably due to Harris cutting in down considerably in one of his revision frenzies. It makes for an odd upbeat to the big slow movement, which draws the best playing on the disc from the BSO.

The Sixth fares less well. The only other commercially available recording is from the Pacific Symphony under Keith Clark, and it's hard to see how this version from the early 1980s (I think) could be bettered - you just feel what Lincoln's first audience to the Gettysburg Address must have felt - inspired to be there at a moment of renewed hope after the bloodiest of civil wars.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 23 Feb 2010
Format: Audio CD
There is no question that Harris' most famous and beloved symphony is his Third, which has already been recorded in this Naxos series that will possibly record them all. [[ASIN:B000EBEGZK Roy Harris: Symphony No. 3; Symphony No. 4 'Folk Song Symphony']. This disc presents his Symphonies Nos. 5 & 6 (but which are presented in reverse order).

Symphony No. 6, 'Gettysburg', (1944) was written in the midst of World War II at a time when Americans were very much thinking about martial conflict. The symphony is in four movements that limn the Battle of Gettysburg. The movements are called Awakening, Conflict, Dedication and Affirmation. And like good tone-poems, these movements really do create a picture in sound of those phases of the Battle, including memorialization of the dead and affirmation of the necessity of the conflict. Those familiar with Harris' Third Symphony will certainly recognize some of his musical processes used here. There are, for instance, two instances of building excitement via shortening note values and increasingly dense orchestration, a process heard to greater effect in the middle of the Third. One could not ask for a better performance than that given by Marin Alsop and the Bournemouth Symphony.

Included as the last track on this disc is a movement called 'Acceleration' (1941) that contains material later recycled for the 6th Symphony, much of it in the 'Conflict' movement. It is effective in its own right.

The Symphony No. 5 (1942) was written to honor the Russian people's resistance and ultimate victory over the invading Germans early in World War II. When the symphony was premièred by Serge Koussevitsky and the Boston Symphony in 1943 it was broadcast both in the USA and in the Soviet Union. It is in three movements.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Gapplegate Music Review, Grego Applegate Edwards, February 2010 23 Mar 2010
By Grego at Gapplegate Music - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Naxos Records is in the process of releasing the complete cycle of symphonies by American composer Roy Harris. That can only be a good thing, especially if the present volume is any indication.

Harris's (1898-1979) reputation as an important composer in the modern post-Ivesian mode seems to have waned sometime in the late '50s, only to revive again in the past decade or so. Perhaps it was easy to take him for granted during a period where the very latest advancement of new music got fleeting, flavor-of-the-month attention at the expense of composers who weren't radically breaking with tradition but nonetheless created a body of works that had lasting value.

I do not wish to imply that there isn't much of lasting value in the more avant composers of that era, but that's another matter. Harris was certainly one of those in the less sensational, less "advanced" category, along with Piston, William Schumann and a handful of others. His World War II Era symphonies were more overtly nationalist, at least in sentiment, than some of the earlier and later works. In any event they remain excellent examples of the Harris style, long unwinding melodies changing hands among instrumental groups, crisp, clear orchestrations, a bracing, restrained lyricism. Listen to the sonorous, majestic, martial strains remembered in solitude as worked out in the Second Movement of his Fifth Symphony if you need convincing.

Marin Alsop and the Bournemouth Symphony give carefully but passionately rendered performances of these works. The added bonus of the miniature work "Acceleration," later reworked into the Sixth Symphony, gives a nice finishing touch to the presentation.

Highly recommended listening. . .
[...]
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Two More Fine Harris Symphonies 23 Feb 2010
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
There is no question that Harris' most famous and beloved symphony is his Third, which has already been recorded in this Naxos series that will possibly record them all. Roy Harris: Symphony No. 3; Symphony No. 4 'Folk Song Symphony'. This disc presents his Symphonies Nos. 5 & 6 (but which are presented in reverse order).

Symphony No. 6, 'Gettysburg', (1944) was written in the midst of World War II at a time when Americans were very much thinking about martial conflict. The symphony is in four movements that limn the Battle of Gettysburg. The movements are called Awakening, Conflict, Dedication and Affirmation. And like good tone-poems, these movements really do create a picture in sound of those phases of the Battle, including memorialization of the dead and affirmation of the necessity of the conflict. Those familiar with Harris' Third Symphony will certainly recognize some of his musical processes used here. There are, for instance, two instances of building excitement via shortening note values and increasingly dense orchestration, a process heard to greater effect in the middle of the Third. One could not ask for a better performance than that given by Marin Alsop and the Bournemouth Symphony.

Included as the last track on this disc is a movement called 'Acceleration' (1941) that contains material later recycled for the 6th Symphony, much of it in the 'Conflict' movement. It is effective in its own right.

The Symphony No. 5 (1942) was written to honor the Russian people's resistance and ultimate victory over the invading Germans early in World War II. When the symphony was premièred by Serge Koussevitsky and the Boston Symphony in 1943 it was broadcast both in the USA and in the Soviet Union. It is in three movements. The first movement, again reminiscent of the section of the Third mentioned above, grows out of a terse theme that is developed via the accelerando/crescendo technique already described. Another aspect of this method is the frequent brassy interjections of two, three, or four note motifs in quicker and quicker succession. The middle movement, itself in three distinct sections, begins with a funeral march and leads into a long section with divided strings playing a striving theme that then culminates in a chorale-like affirmation. The finale is contrapuntal throughout, again in some ways reminiscent of the fugal section of the Third, and it ends in a heroic section that recapitulates the thematic materials from earlier in the movement. On the whole, I must say, I prefer this symphony to the programmatic 6th. But both are strong representatives of Harris's symphonic oeuvre and both are given fine readings here. Recorded sound is quite good.

Scott Morrison
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Finally, the great Roy Harris! 9 Feb 2010
By Brian Ferrell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Finally, at long last, this beautifully recorded CD does justice to the 5th and 6th Symphonies of Roy Harris. The disgraceful manner in which American orchestras have treated this great composer shows some of the shallowness of our current society. This strong, masculine, yet beautiful music, bleeds American blood. Harris was a greater symphonist than every other American composer, save Schuman and Piston, and is still virtually ignored by all American orchestras.Here, American conductor Marin Alsop plays these works to the hilt. She drives the orchestra and brings out the Harris melodic line better than I've ever heard. What a shame, it took the British orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony, to bring this off. Please listen to these works and get inside the Harris idiom and re-evaluate this composer. You can see and feel the mountains, forests, rivers, pioneers that reflect the true greatness of the United States. Kudos to Naxos! B. G. Ferrell
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Roy Harris Has Come Back 20 Feb 2011
By Stephen Adams - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
As an ardent Roy Harris fan, I loved the "Gettysburg" when I first heard it years ago and still do. It's in four movements: Awakening - slow, gentle, with chiming chords that punctuate as activity builds, no modulation. Conflict - sinister repeated quartal bass with muted brass swoops building to relentless march, lots of percussion & brass. Dedication - lyrical lines in brass, middle strings, high solo violin, gradually become articulated melody, restrained, tentative - eventually chordal waves overlap, but never dissonant. Affirmation - octave leap motto in brass builds, breaks into faster tempo, major key - fine ending over dynamic surge. The liner notes mention Sibelius - how about Hovhaness? On the other hand, I remember rejecting Symphony No 5 with disappointment back then. Was Harris's wartime dedication to the freedom loving people of Russia advertised? Is there a whiff of Shostakovich? Marin Alsop has the pulse of this music - the first movement with its driving dotted rhythm. Second begins with a beating dirge, picks up agitation - ends with quasi-liturgical responsories - beautiful. Third works into a loping cowboy tune - mysterioso muted episode rebuilds impetus - big percussion. Yes! If Naxos goes ahead and records them all, I'll be waiting in line. I have yet to hear the First, from 1933.
11 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Check out alternatives 2 April 2010
By Robin Taylor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
When I purchased this item, I eagerly awaited Ms. Alsop's interpretations, but on first hearing was rather disappointed. I have also found with many other recordings of inherently American music that European orchestras do not capture the essence of American creations. To me, Harris comes off best performed with drive, sustained momentum, and youthful vigor. Overall, I don't feel those requirements are present, though she does have her moments. Also, the final bars of some movements are too indecisive for my liking. I would recommend listening to the 5th by Robert Whitney & the Louisville Orchestra and the 6th by Keith Clark & the Pacific Sym. Orch.
Robin Taylor
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