Saturday, November 1, 2008

DENNIS RUSSELL DAVIES/ORCHESTRA OF ST. LUKE'S: MUSIC FOR THE THEATRE, MUSIC FOR MOVIES, QUIET CITY, CLARINET CONCERTO

Davies and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s have recorded a number of discs dedicated to Copland’s work. I like this one the best, especially their version of Quiet City, which comes off quite beautifully.

Dennis Russell Davies is a noted champion of living composers and modern music including Hans Werner Henze, William Bolcom, Lou Harrison, Alan Hovhaness, John Cage, Philip Glass, Giya Kancheli, Arvo Pärt, Virgil Thomson, and Aaron Copland. He has commissioned, premiered and recorded numerous pieces by living composers, along with the standard classical works. Of note are the recordings of Copland's Appalachian Spring with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in 1979 for which he won a Grammy Award; Arvo Pärt Fratres and Miserere; and many of Philip Glass's operas and symphonies including his 5th symphony which is dedicated to Davies. Lou Harrison's 3rd Symphony is also dedicated to Davies.

Upon the discs release in 1989, the New York Times called these performances “sharply articulated, lean-textured readings.” I would have to agree. They have a small, chamber feeling to them, very transparent and spare. To me, this is how Copland’s music sounds best, especially of these small-scale pieces. They are delicate and can easily be overwhelmed by overzealous forces.

William Blount acquits himself very well on the Clarinet Concerto, a piece commissioned and first performed by jazz bandleader Benny Goodman. Blount is a New York musician who has performed Copland’s concerto hundreds of times. His familiarity with the work is pleasingly obvious when listening to this recording.

Music For The Theatre (1925)
1. Prologue (6:09)
2. Dance (3:16)
3. Interlude (5:43)
4. Burlesque (3:15)
5. Epilogue (3:50)

6. Quiet City (1940) (10:02)

Music For Movies (1943)
7. New England Countryside (6:02)
8. Barley Wagons (2:24)
9. Sunday Traffic (2:28)
10 The Story Of Grover's Corners (3:05)
11. Threshing Machines (2:58)

12. Clarinet Concerto (1948) (16:36)

Dennis Russell Davies conducting Orchestra of St. Luke’s.
William Blount, clarinet on #12
Recorded in 1988

4 comments:

Scoredaddy said...

FLACS+CUE+LOG+SCANS@300DPI
http://rapidshare.com/files/159312547/arncplnd-davies.part1.rar
http://rapidshare.com/files/159316680/arncplnd-davies.part2.rar
http://rapidshare.com/files/159308646/arncplnd-davies.part3.rar

finvarra said...

scoredaddy--thanks so much for your generosity and efforts (especially for ripping these treasures in lossless). I really appreciate it!

LL said...

hi Scoredaddy
can you also upgrade the old posts? the symphonies, and others?

Scoredaddy said...

yes, I have already started the upgrade. See Michael Tilson thomas post of last week/