Tuesday, June 13, 2017

George Antheil - Symphony No. 3; etc. (Hugh Wolff)


Information

Composer: George Antheil
  1. Symphony No. 3 "American": I. Allegro
  2. Symphony No. 3 "American": II. Andante
  3. Symphony No. 3 "American": III. The Golden Spike: Andante
  4. Symphony No. 3 "American": IV. Back to Baltimore: Presto
  5. Tom Sawyer "California Overture"
  6. Hot-Time Dance
  7. McKonkey's Ferry
  8. Capital of the World: I. The Tailor Shop
  9. Capital of the World: II. Meditation
  10. Capital of the World: III. Knife Dance

Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
Hugh Wolff, conductor
Date: 2004
Label: cpo
https://www.jpc.de/jpcng/cpo/detail/-/art/George-Antheil-1900-1959-Symphonie-Nr-3-American/hnum/5816877


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Review

Making out a good case for a breezy but unknown American symphony

George Antheil is doing well, with his First and Sixth Symphonies (11/00), Fourth and Fifth (6/02), and now the unknown Third, all on CPO, not to mention the Naxos coupling of the Fourth and Sixth (6/00). And he is lucky to have a conductor of the calibre of Hugh Wolff taking up his cause and reviving a Frankfurt connection going back to the premiere of Transatlantic, the opera acclaimed there in 1930 but not seen in his native US for another 50 years.

Antheil was hesitant about his Third Symphony, written during the 1930s when he was returning from a decade spent mostly in Europe and exploring his own country. He broke off to write film scores and fulfil other commitments so it was picked up and put down, then revised in 1945. In presumably its first recording, the Third is more successful than commentators have suggested, but as attractive tableaux rather than a symphonic entity.

Antheil wanted to write American music and the breezy syncopations of the third movement show common ground with Copland, who in 1926 regarded Antheil as having ‘the greatest gift of any young American now writing’.

If the Third Symphony is transitional, Antheil was very much in his stride during the 1940s. The short overture Tom Sawyer is an endearing evocation of Mark Twain’s hero, and Hot-Time Dance, premiered at the Boston Pops in 1949, is characteristically swaggering and irrepressible – Antheil’s orchestration can stand up with the most blatant Shostakovich; either would be a smash- hit encore. Capital of the World, a ballet based on Hemingway’s short story, was premiered on television then staged at the Met in 1953. This is the Suite, a suave and polished example of Antheil’s late style. Wolff once again makes the most of every- thing, adequately recorded: Eckhardt van den Hoogen’s long booklet notes are informative, if sometimes oddly translated.

-- Peter Dickinson, Gramophone

More reviews:
ClassicsToday  ARTISTIC QUALITY: 10 / SOUND QUALITY: 10
BBC Music Magazine  PERFORMANCE: ***** / SOUND: *****
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2004/Dec04/antheil_sym3_wolff.htm
http://www.classical.net/music/recs/reviews/c/cpo77040a.php
http://www.allmusic.com/album/george-antheil-symphony-no-3-american-mw0001844824
https://www.amazon.com/Symphony-3-American-George-Antheil/dp/B00068CVO4

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George Antheil (July 8, 1900 – February 12, 1959) was an American avant-garde composer, pianist, author and inventor whose modernist musical compositions explored the modern sounds – musical, industrial, mechanical – of the early 20th century. Spending much of the 1920s in Europe, Antheil returned to the US in the 1930s, and thereafter spent much of his time composing music for films and, eventually, television. A man of diverse interests and talents, Antheil was constantly reinventing himself. He wrote magazine articles, an autobiography, a mystery novel, newspaper and music columns.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Antheil

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Hugh Wolff (born October 21, 1953, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France) is an American conductor. He received his education at Harvard and at Peabody Conservatory, studied composition with Olivier Messiaen, conducting with Charles Bruck and piano with Leon Fleisher. Wolff began his career in 1979 as assistant conductor to Mstislav Rostropovich at the National Symphony Orchestra. He was Principal Conductor of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1997 to 2006. Wolff has recorded extensively for Teldec, Sony and others, has been nominated three times for a Grammy and has twice won the Cannes Classical Award.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_Wolff
http://www.hughwolff.com/

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