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American Classics - Chadwick: Symphony No 2, Symphonic Sketches


Release Date: 04/19/2005 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8559213   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  George W. Chadwick
Conductor:  Theodore Kuchar
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ukrainian Radio/TV Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 6 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Chadwick's Second Symphony is a surprisingly original work for an American composer writing in 1886, and it wears its years lightly, particularly in the scherzo--which some claim sounds recognizably "New World," but which has always struck me as closer to the world of the (much later) Hamilton Harty "Irish" Symphony. Be that as it may, the piece has a fund of good tunes; this is its third and, on balance, finest recording. The first, with the Albany Symphony under Julius Hegyi on New World, remains the best recorded. Neeme Järvi's Detroit version for Chandos is fast and casual, the finale a blurry mess. Kuchar shapes the work more effectively than Järvi in all four movements, and brings a bit more energy to it Read more than did Hegyi. The playing of the Ukrainian orchestra is also quite good.


In the delightful Symphonic Sketches, the first of which bears an almost painful resemblance to Dvorák's Carnival Overture, Kuchar also turns in a performance as appealing as any, particularly in the last two movements (Hobgoblin and A Vagrom Ballad). Frankly, the range of interpretation in this work isn't all that wide. There are no poor renditions available. In this case, the Ukrainian ensemble hits all the climaxes with unbridled enthusiasm, though the recording is a touch congested in loud passages, with the percussion placed a bit too far back in the mix.


Serebrier on the currently defunct Reference Recordings label remains the sonic reference here, while Hanson's classic version on Mercury Living Presence, vivid though it is, has its own technical limitations. Järvi's suffers, like his account of the symphony, from Chandos' blowsy engineering and his perfunctory approach to the piece, though he has the best orchestra. All things considered, this release strikes me as the most appealing single all-Chadwick disc currently available, containing as it does the composer's two most popular pieces. I recommend it without hesitation.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Symphony no 2 in B flat major, Op. 21 by George W. Chadwick
Conductor:  Theodore Kuchar
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ukrainian Radio/TV Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883-1885; USA 
2. Symphonic Sketches by George W. Chadwick
Conductor:  Theodore Kuchar
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ukrainian Radio/TV Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1895-1904; USA 

Featured Sound Samples

Symphony no 2: I. Andante non troppo
Symphonic Sketches: III. Hobgoblin

Sound Samples

Symphony No. 2 in B flat major: I. Andante non troppo
Symphony No. 2 in B flat major: II. Allegretto scherzando
Symphony No. 2 in B flat major: III. Largo e maestoso
Symphony No. 2 in B flat major: IV. Allegro non troppo
Symphonic Sketches: I. Jubilee
Symphonic Sketches: II. Noel
Symphonic Sketches: III. Hobgoblin
Symphonic Sketches: IV. A Vagrom Ballad

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