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Symphonies Nos 1 & 2 [IMPORT] [Import]

Howard Hanson Audio CD

Price: £12.99
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb introduction to a great American composer. 15 Jun 1999
By Dr. M. Scott - Published on Amazon.com
Howard Hanson surely deserves better exposure than many other modern composers. This disc is a great way to begin investigating his sumptuous and expertly crafted music - the 2nd movement of the 2nd Symphony was used to accompany the end-credits to Ridley Scott's film ALIEN in 1979. Long melodic lines and a clever juxtaposition of strings with brass leads to very enjoyable listening. The purists may find little to applaud, but why should we not just enjoy good music that does not deliberately try to be new or daring? The Seattle Symphony performs superbly under the expert baton of Gerard Schwarz and does great justice to these underrated works. I heartily recommend this disc to anyone with an ear for "romantic" music.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Howard Hanson: American composer par excellence 25 July 2007
By Sam A. Juliano III - Published on Amazon.com
Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony Orchestra afford an inspired reading of two magnificent works by a sadly-neglected American genius who deserves a musical renaissance. Anyone who listens to the lilting melodic beauty of these two magisterial works will never again question the rightful place of American classical music within hailing distance of the European greats both within this form and in the general music repetoire. Hanson may well be the greatest American composer, a statement that would scoffed at by a number of people who worship Gershwin, Barber, Copland and even Carlisle Floyd, all of whom of course are at the top of the country's music tradition. But Hanson will one day be fully re-evaluated, and these two symphonies, as well as a few others, his haunting "Elegy in Memory of Serge Koussevitsky" and his opera "Merry Mount" will be at the center of this inevitable revistitation of his canon. The composer still holds the all-time record at the Metropolitan Opera House for the most curtain calls (50) at the end of this opera's premiere in the 1930's. That is astonishing when you consider works by Puccini, Wagner, Verdi, Mozart and Strauss are done there regularly.
Most of the attention has been lavished on his "Romantic" Symphony No. 2, which is indeed a ravishing work, but too little has been said about the beautiful "Nordic" Symphony No. 1, which contains a main theme in the first movement that is so lyrical and lilting and so piercingly beautiful that it singlarly defines the composer's ability to envelop his listener with lines of such unabashed emotionality, that they leave in their wake a listener reflecting on some of the most unforgettable moments they have experienced in his/her life. Hanson is saying here that a person's undaunting optimism and faith will triumph over adversity, even if it is unavoidable. It is a melodic line that defines the very essence of romanticism, and it's ironic and rather wonderful that an American composer writing his most celebrated compositions in the 30's and 40's has made this statement. Suffused with the influence of Sibelius, the Swedish-parented composer utilizes sweeping themes infused with heroic cadences, and the senic beauty of the outdoors. Of course, inevitably, the "Nordic" gives way in its later movements to a strain of melancholy, which is not only part of Hanson's duality of purpose, but a reflection of brooding Scandinavian melancholy. The "Nordic" is a masterpiece.
The "used" and "like new" prices for this are beyond insane. Obtaining this CD is the 'steal' of 'steals.' These works cry out for recognition from the New York Philharmonic and other world-class orchestras.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gerard and the Seattle Symphony's Best 16 April 2006
By T. Doke - Published on Amazon.com
I was fortunate to be in the hall for the rehearsals and the North American premiere of the Seattle Symphony's performance of Hanson's "Romantic." The underlying, recurrent theme across all movements is as moving and powerful today as it was in the early 1990s. Gerry managed to coax from the Symphony an emotional commitment to this piece that is evident to this day, with every playing. This music travels with me wherever I go.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hats off to Hanson 11 Feb 2006
By Benjamin R. Garrison - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
It took me a long time to come across the works of Howard Hanson. His work is well worth the wait. I've now heard two different versions of his 2nd Symphony and this one is the superior interpretation. (Of course, I'm from Seattle, so maybe there's a bit of bias here). Like Caesar Franck's Symphony in D minor, Hanson has one main theme that he repeats throughout. One would think that this could easily become tiresome and cloying, but the opposite occurs. It's hypnotic, mesmerizing and beautiful.

The Nordic Symphony is quite good too. It has a heroic sound that is extroverted while the 2nd Symphony has a heroism of its own that speaks more of an inner reality.

There is only one thing that bothers me about this recording and it has nothing to do with the music. What's up with the photo of Gerard Schwarz and his middle finger? Some photo editing was badly needed here!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly moving music 27 Aug 2007
By M. Curtis - Published on Amazon.com
I bought this CD because I was collecting elegies, and wow,
what an incredible surprise. Haunting melodious music, kind of
like Vaughn-Williams meets Rachmaninoff. I'm now collecting
other CDs from this wonderful composer.
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