WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Iannaccone: Night Rivers; Myers, Redmann / Florencio


Release Date: 08/30/1998 
Label:  Vienna Modern Masters   Catalog #: 3019   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Anthony IannacconeTheldon MyersBernd Redmann
Conductor:  José M. Florèncio Jr.
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cracow Polish Radio/TV Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Special Order: This CD requires additional production time and ships within 2-3 business days.  

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

I can't be more direct: Night Rivers (1990-92), the Third Symphony of Anthony Iannaccone, is stunning—a rare work that achieves a dramatic balance of the cerebral and visceral. To my mind, it is one of the supreme American symphonies. It is alone reason enough to anyone interested in twentieth-century music to go to any length—even to "anticiptically" special ordering a copy from a dealer—to get this Vienna Modern Masters CD. After listening to Night Rivers frequently over the past four years and never failing to be enthralled by the insights of its argument and development, I have been moved to submit a "Hall of Fame" review for only the second time.

Iannaccone (b. 1943), a professor of composition at
Read more Eastern Michigan University, has long admired the poetry of Walt Whitman, and several of his works—both vocal and instrumental—have been inspired by the poet. In Night Rivers, the ebb and flow of musical lines are guided by an imagery fashioned by Whitman's metaphors of night and rivers as found in The Sleepers and Crossing Brooklyn Bridge. The symphony's construct arises from the work's first seven measures, which generate the textural/thematic contours that eventually forge contrasting sections of reflection and cross-rhythmic dynamism. Somehow, even in its fortissimo parts, the Symphony retains an aura of mysterioso. The music's sonic diversity and ensembling of colors are masterful, and its progression toward a conclusion, even in its more-or-less static passages, keeps the listener enthralled hearing after hearing. And not since George Rochberg's quite different Symphony No. 2—a neglected masterpiece, its powerful old LP recording sinfully absent from Schwann Opus—do I remember being so convinced by a symphony's quiet ending as I am by that of Night Rivers. A further sample of Ian-naccone's compositional gift can be heard in his Two-Piano Inventions on an even-more-difficult-to-find Redwood CD.

The Symphony 1969 by Theldon Myers (b. 1927) is also a work with a clear and logical development. Myers's symphony is more dissonant, with an organizing principle developed from motifs of specific intervals that are expanded, inverted, and so on throughout the work's three movements. The second movement is quite varied, with passages of satire and fanciful dialog between instruments moderated by an active percussion section.

Something quite different occurs in the third work—Fiasko by the German composer Bernd Redmann (b. 1965). The controls are lifted. Fiasko (translated as "total freeing") is a "chain-reaction" of "energy-laden sound materials" that, as the composer has further written, "explode outward. ... The music, freed from any obligation to be orderly, flies out of control." If one comes to the music with this in mind, knowing that the composer has scored "unpredictable music for an unpredictable world," then Fiasko is fun to listen to for its textures and sonic shapes. At twenty minutes in length, it is long by a third, I suppose, but you're not likely to be looking at your watch as you listen to it.

The performances are decent to good, though some balancing problems obscure an important piano part in Night Rivers, and some tentative solo passages in Symphony 1969 betray a lack of adequate rehearsals. The sound is very good. How excited I would be to ever learn someday that a major American orchestra was programming Iannaccone's Night Rivers.

-- Stephen Ellis, Fanfare [9/1997]
Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Symphony no 3 "Night Rivers" by Anthony Iannaccone
Conductor:  José M. Florèncio Jr.
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cracow Polish Radio/TV Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1990-1992; USA 
2. Symphony 1969 by Theldon Myers
Conductor:  José M. Florèncio Jr.
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cracow Polish Radio/TV Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
3. Fiasko für grosses Orchester by Bernd Redmann
Conductor:  José M. Florèncio Jr.
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cracow Polish Radio/TV Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 

Sound Samples

Symphony No. 3, "Night Rivers": (USA)
Symphony 1969: I. -
Symphony 1969: II. -
Symphony 1969: III. -
Fiasko: (Germany)

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook