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Antheil: Symphonies No 1 & 6, Etc / Wolff, Frankfurt Rso


Release Date: 05/16/2000 
Label:  Cpo   Catalog #: 999604   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  George Antheil
Conductor:  Hugh Wolff
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 3 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


George Antheil's 1923 Symphony No. 1 comes as a surprise after hearing his No.4 and No. 6 on Naxos. This is a far more personal, varied and moving composition than the later works. Antheil began composing the work while studying with Ernest Bloch, and though it is teeming with outside influences, Antheil's own voice is clearly distinguishable. It begins with what sounds like Scriabin's 'Prometheus' chord, over which a solo cello sighs, before the first brass outburst. But this is brief and the atmosphere of stillness returns. The movement is very much in the style of Ives with its popular tune reminiscences and brass-band flourishes, but these occur sequentially rather than concurrently. The second
Read more movement, "Zingareska" recreates the atmosphere of Stravinsky's Petrouchka, while the impressionistic third, "Doloroso elevato" reveals hints of Debussy. The finale, "Ragtime", starts out sounding like Kodaly's Hary Janos then goes its own way before a wildly colorful close. Hearing the First Symphony provides a framework for the coupled Sixth of 1948. Antheil's stylistic fingerprints are ever-present (the kalaidescopic wind writing for example) but now they show conspicuous traces of Shostakovch and Prokofiev. Nonetheless, this remains the work of an American composer, as is made exceptionally clear in Hugh Wolff's brilliant performance. Whereas Theodore Kuchar and his Ukranian Orchestra are content to play this music as if it really were Russian (or Ukrainian), Wolff gets the players of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony to loosen up the rhythms and expose their jazz undercurrents. The finale is a case in point: Kuchar is slow and stern, Wolff is fleet and swings. Also, Wolff is more attuned to the varied colors of the score, making it sound far more fluent. As a bonus, the CPO disc includes Antheil's catchy Archipelago (subtitled "Rhumba), which is sort of in the same vein as Gerswhin's Cuban Overture. CPO's warm, full recording is an improvement over Naxos's harsher sounding production. Of course, that recording includes a fine performance of Symphony No.4, but for those who want a first exposure to the music of Antheil, start with the Wolff.

--Victor Carr, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 1 "Zingareska" by George Antheil
Conductor:  Hugh Wolff
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 1999 
Venue:  HR, Sendesaal, Germany 
Length: 30 Minutes 57 Secs. 
2.
Symphony no 6 "after Delacroix" by George Antheil
Conductor:  Hugh Wolff
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1948/1950; USA 
Date of Recording: 1999 
Venue:  HR, Sendesaal, Germany 
Length: 25 Minutes 48 Secs. 
3.
Archipelago by George Antheil
Conductor:  Hugh Wolff
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935; USA 
Date of Recording: 1999 
Venue:  HR, Sendesaal, Germany 
Length: 5 Minutes 29 Secs. 

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