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William Kraft

Release Date: 06/21/2005 
Label:  First Edition   Catalog #: 44   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  William Kraft
Performer:  Mary RawcliffeJonathan MackWarren Samples Jr.
Conductor:  André PrevinPaul PolivnickChristopher Wilkins
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Philharmonic OrchestraPasadena Boy ChoirNew Albion Ensemble,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Those with an acquired taste for angry, complex, 12-tone-sounding social protest music will find William Kraft's Contextures II: The Final Beast (1985-1986) a superior specimen. Kraft always keeps the music sounding purposeful, even when--as in this eight-movement song cycle for soprano, tenor, and boys' chorus--the harmonic center is lost in an atonal fog. The anti-war work also explores Kraft's interest in layering textures, and even incorporates a Renaissance ensemble into the mix. Contextures II is the sequel to Contextures: Riots of the '60s (1967/68), which the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta were rehearsing in 1968 when word came of Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination. The recording of that work made a few days later Read more conveys a remarkably intense feeling. Contextures II literally begins as the earlier work ended, exactly quoting its last few measures. ("We Shall Overcome" is hidden in the texture.) The same orchestra, now led by André Previn, achieves a similar spirit, and Joanna Nickrenz's outstanding engineering is a worthy match for the justly praised first Contextures recording.

Interplay (1982-84) and Of Ceremonies, Pageants, and Celebrations (1986/87) also were premiered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, but here these "easier", more tonal-sounding works are recorded by two different orchestras. Soloists are all first rate, and the three conductors all achieve a high musical standard. It is a tribute to the general rise in the level of orchestral playing in America that the Alabama Symphony and Utah Symphony sound nearly equal to their Los Angeles counterpart. This First Edition release is a re-issue of Nonesuch 79229-2 and comes with the original liner notes. Nickrenz's skills as a recordist are reflected in the fact that despite featuring three different orchestras recorded in three different halls, the album sounds like a single entity with consistent sound.
--Joseph Stevenson, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Contextures II "The Final Beast" by William Kraft
Performer:  Mary Rawcliffe (Soprano), Jonathan Mack (Tenor)
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra,  Pasadena Boy Choir,  New Albion Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1985/1986; USA 
Date of Recording: 04/03/1987 
Venue:  Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles 
Length: 33 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is sung in Classical Greek, English, Latin and Middle High German. 
Interplay by William Kraft
Performer:  Warren Samples Jr. (Cello)
Conductor:  Paul Polivnick
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alabama Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1982-1984; USA 
Date of Recording: 04/02/1988 
Venue:  Frank Moody Hall, University of Alabama 
Length: 16 Minutes 47 Secs. 
Of Ceremonies, Pageants and Celebrations by William Kraft
Conductor:  Christopher Wilkins
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Utah Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1986-1987; USA 
Date of Recording: 06/29/1988 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Salt Lake City, Utah 
Length: 12 Minutes 3 Secs. 

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