Monday, November 17, 2014

Lou Harrison - Symphony No. 3 - Dennis Russell Davies, Cabrillo Music Festival Orchestra - Music Masters

This post is by request from Tapirman, and I hope he doesn't get too excited and faint :)  I almost forgot how incredibly good this symphony is, it's been way too long since I've played it....

*This post does NOT include the Grand Duo-I still have to locate my physical copy of the disc,
and this magnificent symphony I managed to locate on one of my hdd's. The Third Symphony
however, is the main reason to acquire this rare recording; I don't think there's any other available
recordings of it. Also, the symphony I have as a single mp3 file-which really is fine as the movements are rather seamless anyway.

Lou Harrison, a "West Coast Maverick" and one of the truly original grand old men of American music, wrote this grand and highly melodious symphony for the 1982 Cabrillo Music Festival, which is held near his home in Aptos, CA. Typically, its style and sonority are far different from that of the usual symphony (Modern, Romantic, or Classical). It's in a style that is pretty much Harrison's own, an always-attractive sound that suggests its many Asian influences and almost entirely does without traditional harmony with its constant tension between consonance and dissonance.

The first movement, Allegro moderato, is stately and dignified. For the most part, the movement is written in two-part contrapuntal lines, with whatever harmony develops being a product of the incidental clashing of these lines. It starts with a bold, ceremonial statement with a faintly East Asian character. The symphony's second subject is slower, with the main contrast between the two subjects being the difference in their moods, for the second subject is meditative and melancholy. The movement ends after the grandest statement of the main theme, followed by another, gentle and wistful on solo strings.

In place of a scherzo is a three-part series of shorter dance pieces honoring three friends of his. The first of these is called "A Reel in Honor of Henry Cowell."

Cowell was a formative influence on Harrison. The original "West Coast Maverick" composer, Cowell taught an extension course on music of the world that reinforced Harrison's great attraction to the various ethnic music he could hear as a youth in San Francisco. One of Harrison's favorite entertainments (and cheap at just a quarter for a whole evening) was Chinese opera. Although the actual fiddle figurations of this piece derive from the Irish reel (and hence honor Cowell, who was of Irish descent), just about everything else in this energetic movement sounds Asian, including the active, metallic clicking in the percussion.

"A Waltz for Evelyn Hinrichsen" acts as a contrasting slow trio in this quasi-scherzo structure. It is a delicate and relaxing piece. The final of the three scherzo movements is called "An Estampie for Susan Summerfield." Harrison has often used the French term "estampie" or an English cognate for it, "stampede," to denote bright, almost aggressive, pieces with a rhythm deriving from the medieval estampie and strong unison melodies.

The third movement, Largo ostinato, opens with a broad-vista sound that suggests fantasy landscape in its bright shafts of trumpet and high flute sonorities. A lovely and lonely high violin theme enters once the bass lines settle down into their ostinato patterns. This is a seemingly endless melody with broad and aching chromatic leaps.

The finale, Allegro, is a strong symphonic conclusion. It is, again, a purely melodically based movement, but this is expressed in multi-part counterpoint comprising several lovely independent lines. The constantly shifting orchestration rises to an exciting moment with bells and other chiming sounds coming forward as the conclusion reaches real grandeur. Enjoy!

Track listing:

1. Symphony No. 3: Allegro Moderato
2. Symphony No. 3: A Reel in Honor of Henry Cowell
3. Symphony No. 3: A Waltz for Evelyn Hinrichsen
4. Symphony No. 3: An Estampie for Susan Summerfield
5. Symphony No. 3: Largo Ostinato
6. Symphony No. 3: Allegro


Anonymous said...

¡Qué regalo de Symphony primaveral,colosal,super,graziosa y una optimista coda,muchas gracias Master Tzadik,por esta version de Harrison,un millon de gracias,un abrazo de Tapirman!

YiannisK said...

Dear Tzadik, thank you very much for this wonderful rarity of this still underrated great composer.

Anonymous said...

Dear friend Tzadik:es mucho pedir dividir en los 6 tracks Symphony 3? debido a la radiodifusión,cortarlo en tiempos o movimientos,te ruego,por favor si puedes subirlo así,muchas gracias igual!! Doktor Tapirman

Tzadik said...

(Doctor) Tapirman;) son muy bienvenidos por el Sym No. 3, feliz fin pude localizarlo para usted! -I Trató de dividir el archivo ya antes de que yo iba a publicarlo, he usado dos programas diferentes y tampoco sería dividir el mp3. Yo no sé por qué. Hay una buena probabilidad de que me encontré con este archivo de una vez que no es de mi disco; Asumo mi copia sería rasgar bien. Puedo intentar otra aplicación cuando tengo el tiempo .. -TZ

Tzadik said...

YiannisK you are welcome, it's a fantastic work, perhaps one of Harrison's finest! -Thank you for commenting I appreciate it... Tz

Paco Martín said...

Interesante música. No la conocía. Muchas gracias.

sneffels said...

Thank you for this amazing symphony!

We don't get to hear enough Lou Harrison - I hope you can find the Grand Duo!

Also, if you want to edit MP3 files, there's an excellent and very easy to use program called MP3directcut. It will edit MP3s and save them without loss of quality.

(Though I do wish you'd rip to lossless format, like FLAC or APE - they're not much bigger than MP3s and they do sound better.)

Thanks again!

Tzadik said...

Hola Paco, I'm happy you have discovered music that is new to you. Thanks for commenting! Saludos

Tzadik said...

Hi Sneffles you are quite welcome friend.
I'll find the Grand some point! Ok I will try what you recommend, although I hope it works for Mac. I tried Audacity for Mac which is supposed to b didn't work for me.. -Tz

sneffels said...

Ah, I forgot you have a Mac - MP3directcut works on PC and Linux. I'll ask around amongst my Mac friends, they might be able to suggest something.

Tzadik said...

Hi Sneffels yes please do. I feel as if I should know more about editing but to be honest it's not something I ever really do. Only with my own musical "doodling" whilst using progs like Abelton or hw like a 303 etc. -Tz

Toon van Dijk said...

Many thanks and regards from The Netherlands.
Veel dank en groeten uit Nederland.

Anonymous said...

For separating or joining .mp3 files I use MP3 Trimmer. It's very easy to use and, most importantly, does what it does without re-encoding the files, so the products have exactly the same fidelity as what you put into it. It is, moreover, a Mac program, and free.