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American Classics - McKay: An American Dance Symphony / Nardolillo

Release Date: 09/30/2008 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8559330   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  George McKay
Conductor:  John Nardolillo
Orchestra/Ensemble:  University Of Kentucky Women's ChoirUniversity Of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is one interesting release! McKay's Epoch is a four-movement symphonic ballet dating from 1935, a sort of American equivalent to Ravel's Daphnis and Chloe, or Novak's Nikotina. It's very entertaining. The first movement, "Symbolic Portrait", contains an atmospheric evocation of Poe's The Pit and the Pendulum. The second movement, "Pastoral", includes some lovely writing for wordless female choir. If these first two movements perhaps lack a little in contrast (save for the Poe episode), then the third movement, "Westward!", and the finale, "Machine Age Blues", more than make amends. It would be great to see this piece choreographed, as originally intended, but the music has more than enough Read more character to sustain listening independently of the staging.

The performance sounds remarkably accomplished for theoretically amateur performances. I have often remarked that the evidence of increasing technical standards isn't to be found in our major orchestras, which always attracted the best players, but rather in the second tier, youth, and school groups, who often deliver thoroughly professional results. John Nardolillo directs a confident, colorful interpretation and gets his players to respond with evident enthusiasm. The University of Kentucky Women's Choir also sounds very smooth and aptly ethereal in the second movement. The engineering perhaps could be a touch richer and more tactile, but it's perfectly fine. Impressive.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Epoch "An American Dance Symphony" by George McKay
Conductor:  John Nardolillo
Orchestra/Ensemble:  University Of Kentucky Women's Choir,  University Of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935 
Date of Recording: 2/2007 
Venue:  Singletary Center, Lexington, KY 

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