Symphonies 3, 5 & 8
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : いいえ
- 製品サイズ : 14.27 x 12.5 x 0.84 cm; 108.86 g
- メーカー : Sony
- EAN : 0074646316320
- レーベル : Sony
- ASIN : B0000029XY
- ディスク枚数 : 1
- Amazon 売れ筋ランキング: - 644,579位ミュージック (の売れ筋ランキングを見るミュージック)
Schuman's music belongs to the era that spawned Roy Harris (his teacher), Howard Hanson, and Aaron Copland. Schuman's Symphony No. 3 is a clear homage to Harris, broken rhythms and all. The Symphony for Strings (1943) comes at a time when Schuman's voice is finally his own. What could come off as exceedingly dry is here given a performance of great depth by Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic. Schuman's Symphony No. 8 (1962) is truly modern, making extensive use of atonality and creating a series of stormy images--something that never appears in the music of Hanson, Copland, or Harris. A major re-release by Sony. --Paul Cook
Schuman's third symphony, a work that put his name on the map, is - I think - not just one of the greatest American symphonies but also one of the greatest twentieth century symphonies. As much as it is "of its time", it also engages with musical tradition and its four-movements-in-two structure utilises Baroque forms in a new and stimulating way: the first movement is a passacaglia and fugue, while the second movement is a chorale and toccata. There is virtuoso orchestral writing here and as well as being intellectually and emotionally satisfying, this music has a tremendous visceral impact: at the end of the fugue, for example, alongside the tremendous sense of forward energy derived from Schuman's distinctive sense of rhythm, all the brass instruments are directed to play their triple forte music with their bells in the air; in all senses, this is a thrilling moment and must be incredible to experience in the concert hall. Schuman's scoring is beautifully judged and his compositional trademarks - such as the important solo parts for timpani - are prominent throughout.
The two other symphonies here are no less interesting. The fifth followed the massive third symphony within a few years; commissioned by Koussevitzky, it is scored for strings alone and a more compact piece but there is no diminution in energy or intensity. The central slow movement deserves mention for its luminous and moving beauty. The eighth symphony, subtitled `Le Fosse Ardeatine' and relating to the Nazi massacre of Italians in World War Two, is a harder edged work than either of the two other symphonies recorded here: aside from the `presto' finale, the music is predominantly slow, the first two movements being marked `lento sostenuto' and `largo'. There is perhaps more of an astringency to this music harmonically than in his earlier works and more of an engagement with post-war music developments, but while the symphony is less ostentatious in its emotional impact, it is no less accessible and forms a deeply felt response to the tragedy that inspired it.
I have mentioned the sterling work done by Naxos in the service of American music and there is a fine rendition of the third symphony in excellent sound available on that label: Schuman - Symphonies Nos 3 and 5 . What makes this disc so special, despite the sound quality being rather brash at times*, is the remarkable intensity of the performances by the New York Philharmonic under Bernstein. I am no apologist for Bernstein the conductor (as opposed to the composer) and have to confess to finding some of his recordings of the key Romantic repertoire unlistenable, but here he is simply magnificent. I have read (though I cannot corroborate it) that the performances on this disc were given the composer's personal imprimatur. Certainly, I think, any composer would be delighted to have his music performed with such passion and discipline - and with not a whiff of the self-indulgence that sometimes characterised Bernstein's conducting. The performance of the third is, quite rightly in my opinion, considered by many to be not just a legendary one but also the definitive one.
This is a remarkable disc on all counts. For anyone interested in the symphony as a genre or in American music generally, in the composer or in the conductor, this is an essential purchase and, despite the fine qualities of the Naxos rival, that recording can really only be considered a modern-sound supplement to this classic account.
Very strongly recommended.
* the recording dates of the three symphonies, in numerical order, are 1960, 1966 and 1962.
Not so with the fifth. Schuman's fifth is scored for string orchestra and though it does, admittedly, lose some of the potential for blistering orchestral brilliance it displays most of Schuman's most notable qualities, such as memorable thematic material and formal clarity. The wonderfully lyrical slow movement is particularly rewarding, and the tempestuous, slightly jazzy and rugged finale is a major statement in its own right.
The eighth symphony is a blazing display of power, harmonically strident but still formally and thematically clear. It may not quite reach the level of the third symphony, but in particular the finale is impressive - unrelenting, wailingly intense and smoldering, this is a movement of pure power, screeching along to a magnificently explosive conclusion. Throughout Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic nail these works completely. The speeds are quick; at times bordering on the rushed though the effect is uniformly thrilling and the individual contributions marvelous. The sound is overall very good, although the third symphony suffers a little as already indicated. Nevertheless this remains a pretty much essential release for any fans of twentieth century music.
Bernstein shared an affinity for Schuman's music and has even premiered his "Symphony No. 8" not too long before he recorded this performance. Personally, Schuman is my favorite American composer. I relate much more to his music than any other American composer. A friend of mine stated that Schuman's music was like that of Copland's but only contained more counterpoint. That's an apt description, but I think it's also a limitation as I think Schuman's music is much more compelling than Copland's. Aside from the famous "Symphony No. 3," Schuman is best known for an orchestral work titled "New England Triptych." A good work, but definitely not top-drawer. The most well-known symphony here, "Symphony No. 3," received it's best performance to date under Bernstein and the NY Philharmonic. Bernstein later went on to record it again on Deutsche Grammophon ( Roy Harris: Symphony No. 3 / William Schuman: Symphony No. 3 ), but I think the results that time around were less successful.
The other two symphonies, the 5th and the 8th, also receive outstanding performances. "Symphony No. 5" was scored for strings only and demonstrates Schuman's capacity to write for a minimal amount of musicians and, after listening to it several times, I've come to the conclusion that he could write for any instrument combination and the end result would be fantastic. He had a great command over the orchestra and knew exactly how to keep his ideas afloat without becoming tedious or dull. "Symphony No. 8," on the other hand, is much more dense and dissonant than the 3rd and 5th, but, still very direct and emotional. I read someone's comment somewhere where they commented that Schuman was a dry/academic composer. I think this is an unjust criticism and an all too common critique that doesn't add up to much. One reviewer here actually commented that the 5th and 8th symphonies were indicators why Schuman didn't become more famous. After I read that, I couldn't help to laugh, because from the 6th symphony until the last one ("Symphony No. 10") Schuman never lost his unique style. The only symphony that has given me trouble is the 9th. This symphony is a puzzling, highly dissonant work that still hasn't completely convinced me.
Anyway, this Bernstein Schuman offering is mandatory listening for new Schuman fans and anyone interested in mid-20th Century American music.