<< -- 3 -- David Wilkins Obvious dedication
Gunther Schuller's Symphony 1965 is played by its première
forces : the Dallas Symphony Orchestra under Donald Johanas and, as far
as one can judge without a score, it's a cracker. This, however, is
music from a very different mould from that of the rest in the compilation.
This is serious serialism and, to prove it, we are given the composer's
exhaustive (exhausting?) notes explaining the nature of his concern to combine
avant-garde compositional techniques (12 note rows etc.) with such
a traditional musical form as the symphony. If you can handle the larger
orchestral canvases of Schoenberg's opus 16 or Berg's opus 6,
for example, there is nothing too frightening here. A lot of the music is
stimulating, indeed expressive enough to insinuate itself subcutaneously.
I have been very glad to listen to this piece several times but I may, now,
put it away for (quite) a while [listen -- CD2 track
After that, the final work will come as balm or bathos according to taste.
Edward MacDowell's Indian Suite dates from the early 1890s and
so is, of course, contemporaneous with Dvorák's New World
Symphony. There are some Bohemian flavours in the MacDowell mix and
some undoubted skills of orchestration but, beyond that, it doesn't
compare well with the Dvorák. MacDowell actually uses genuine Indian
melodies. The idea of an Iroquois 'scalp dance' might have you
reaching for the paracetamol, but the music definitely won't! It's
all quite charming and tuneful if, in the last resort, unmemorable. The
Westphalian Symphony Orchestra with Siegfried Landau again may not, of course,
be the work's greatest champions.
Copyright © 3 February 2002
David Wilkins, Eastbourne, Sussex, UK
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