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Record Box

Alongside AD1620

BASIL RAMSEY listens to the
music of Edward MacDowell


Naxos    8.559075

MacDowell: Orchestral Suites. (c) 2001 HNH International Ltd

 

Spending much time for musical training in Europe, Edward MacDowell was as American as his music illustrates, more so in the programmatic pieces than in symphonies and concertos. Arguably, the former have more bite and character than the latter. Therefore this CD provides much lighthearted music and less of the dramatic variety [listen -- track 5, 0:00-0:52]. The slower pieces, too, have qualities that bear repetition [listen -- track 7, 2:34-3:32] without losing sight of the overall purpose of pleasure in diversity.

Apart from the two suites opus 42 and 48, appears his earlier tone poem Hamlet and Ophelia opus 22. It mostly skims the surface of any dramatic tension, preferring to manipulate colours and moods, leaving the listener a cameo relief that represents general impressions.

The Irish orchestra provides the sympathetic qualities that puts warmth and life into the music, and leaves a good impression of MacDowell's best compositional features.

 

Copyright © 31 October 2001 Basil Ramsey, Eastwood, Essex, UK

 

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Record Box is Music & Vision's regular Wednesday series of shorter CD reviews