Top critical review
7 people found this helpful
Could do better
on 7 December 2006
Years, decades ago I bought a recording of Sibelius' 5th Symphony conducted by Serge Koussevitsky. On the other side was the 3rd Symphony of Roy Harris, a composer I'd never even heard of before. The recording was crude by today's standards, but the performance was electrifying, and I soon fell in love with this music. Later I was privileged to hear a live performance conducted by Leonard Bernstein, and this expanded my appreciation even more. The old vinyl recording is long gone, and I thought I'd like to hear the 3rd Symphony again, so I bought this one. Perhaps I'd been spoiled, but the recording by Marin Alsop and the Colorado Symphony doesn't quite do it for me. I don't know whether the problem is with the performance or the recording. I'm no musician, and my ability to express myself in technical musical language is poor, but here goes.... This is one of the greatest American symphonies. In less than twenty minutes it can take you to vast plains, big skies and endless snow-capped peaks. It should be bursting with self-confidence, every instrument clear and vying for our attention. This offering seems a little, well.... muddy. Given the budget price of this CD, perhaps I'm being a little harsh on it. It's enjoyable enough, but if your a fan of this music you might want to splash out on one of the other offerings available.
My enjoyment of the 'Folk Song Symphony' wasn't affected by my having heard it before, and I really did enjoy it. Musically it is no match for the 3rd Symphony (in spite of being over twice as long), but perhaps it will grow on me. The singing by the Colorado Symphony Chorus is vigorous, with the words crystal clear. The tunes are all familiar and accessible.
This is a generally good CD, and good value for money, but merits only three stars because of the somewhat lacklustre rendition of one of my favourite symphonies.