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Antheil: Piano Concertos, Etc / Becker, Oue, Et Al


Release Date: 02/21/2006 
Label:  Cpo   Catalog #: 777109   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  George Antheil
Performer:  Markus Becker
Conductor:  Eiji Oue
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 6 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

George Antheil wrote wonderfully crazy, uninhibited, and sometimes-prophetic music. Listen to the recently unearthed First piano concerto, where the soloist's bare-boned unison lines play against fast moving orchestral color chords, and you'll think, "Aha! Messiaen!" Except that Antheil came first. However, much of this one-movement work's remainder begs, borrows, and steals from Stravinsky's Petrouchka. The Second concerto is characterized by energetic bitonal counterpoint, hiccupping syncopations, and the kind of chugging, stuck-in-the-mud Baroque-ish continuity you often get from Milhaud or Villa-Lobos. The Jazz Symphony is a miniature piano concerto whose discontinuous shifts of style and mood foretell the wacky accompaniments Read more Carl Stalling fashioned for Bugs Bunny cartoons. It gathers a palpable momentum and sense of forward urgency absent from the longer concertos. This comment also applies to the short, virtuosic solo pieces that fill out the disc.

I'm sure every pianist within Markus Becker's reach will line up to rent his octaves after hearing him sail through the brief Jazz Sonata with wrists and arms intact. And compared to the First concerto's premiere recording featuring pianist Michael Rische with Christoph Poppen and the Bamberg Symphony, Becker's added rhythmic alacrity joined with the more innately "swinging" NDR Radiophilharmonie under Eiji Oue pays sharper dividends. Incidentally, the Jazz Symphony is played in its shorter 1955 revision (as is the harder-edged performance with H. K. Gruber leading the Ensemble Modern on RCA), as opposed to the slightly longer 1925 score recorded for RCA by Michael Tilson-Thomas and the New World Symphony. Needless to say, this is a must for Antheil acolytes.

--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Piano no 1 by George Antheil
Performer:  Markus Becker (Piano)
Conductor:  Eiji Oue
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1922; USA 
Length: 21 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Notes: Grosser Sendesaal, Landesfunk, Hannover (01/21/2004 - 01/23/2004); Grosser Sendesaal, Landesfunk, Hannover (03/15/2004 - 03/16/2004) 
2.
A Jazz Symphony by George Antheil
Conductor:  Eiji Oue
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925; Paris, France 
Length: 8 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Notes: Grosser Sendesaal, Landesfunk, Hannover (01/21/2004 - 01/23/2004); Grosser Sendesaal, Landesfunk, Hannover (03/15/2004 - 03/16/2004) 
3.
Jazz Sonata by George Antheil
Performer:  Markus Becker (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923; USA 
Length: 1 Minutes 47 Secs. 
Notes: Grosser Sendesaal, Landesfunk, Hannover (01/21/2004 - 01/23/2004); Grosser Sendesaal, Landesfunk, Hannover (03/15/2004 - 03/16/2004) 
4.
Sonata for Piano no 3 "The Death of Machines" by George Antheil
Performer:  Markus Becker (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923; Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 4 Secs. 
Notes: Grosser Sendesaal, Landesfunk, Hannover (01/21/2004 - 01/23/2004); Grosser Sendesaal, Landesfunk, Hannover (03/15/2004 - 03/16/2004) 
5.
Little Shimmy by George Antheil
Performer:  Markus Becker (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923; Paris, France 
Length: 1 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Notes: Grosser Sendesaal, Landesfunk, Hannover (01/21/2004 - 01/23/2004); Grosser Sendesaal, Landesfunk, Hannover (03/15/2004 - 03/16/2004) 
6.
Sonatina for Radio by George Antheil
Performer:  Markus Becker (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1929 
Length: 4 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Notes: Grosser Sendesaal, Landesfunk, Hannover (01/21/2004 - 01/23/2004); Grosser Sendesaal, Landesfunk, Hannover (03/15/2004 - 03/16/2004) 
7.
Concerto for Piano no 2 by George Antheil
Performer:  Markus Becker (Piano)
Conductor:  Eiji Oue
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; France 
Length: 19 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Notes: Grosser Sendesaal, Landesfunk, Hannover (01/21/2004 - 01/23/2004); Grosser Sendesaal, Landesfunk, Hannover (03/15/2004 - 03/16/2004) 
8.
Dreams: Can-Can by George Antheil
Performer:  Markus Becker (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; USA 
Length: 4 Minutes 55 Secs. 
Notes: Grosser Sendesaal, Landesfunk, Hannover (01/21/2004 - 01/23/2004); Grosser Sendesaal, Landesfunk, Hannover (03/15/2004 - 03/16/2004) 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 George Antheil: A Composer Worth Hearing September 19, 2017 By Jan Jensen (Salt Lake City, UT) See All My Reviews "Any American musician worth his salt has at least heard of George Antheil, the "Bad Boy of Music" who was notorious for his "Ballet Méchanique" back in the 20's...and that’s where it ends. Few are familiar with that work which was meant to be more of an attention-grabber than anything else. Even fewer are familiar with his broad ranging composition styles which included symphonies, operas, films, and other various works for piano (Antheil was an excellent pianist). Antheil was a serious composer, having studied with Ernst Bloch in his youth. Many years ago I was introduced to Lucienne Bloch, Ernst’s younger daughter who had known Antheil who came to their house for lessons. When I asked her about George, she didn’t hesitate in telling me just how “crazy” he was for climbing up a trellis to the upper floor to gain admittance into the house via an open window when he adjudged the family too slow in opening the front door when rang the bell! This anecdote does say something about Antheil’s personality as does much of his music. There is much wit in all of the works on this recording, but not all of his witticisms are apparent on just one or two hearings. His music requires careful listening to uncover these gems. Besides the cleverness of the music, there is great rhythmic variety and ever-changing piano and orchestral textures. It’s like experiencing music through an aural kaleidoscope (don’t care for that texture much?...another one is on its way!) The orchestra (the NDR Radiophilharmonie),under the able direction of Eiji Oue,is precise with the complicated rhythms, especially notable in the Jazz Symphony and Markus Becker has full command of the keyboard with vibrant tone and solid technique. The recording has excellent sonority and captured the quietest of passages to the most thunderous ones. This CPO recording was released in 2005 and I regret my loss in not having possession of it for the past 12 years. I hope CPO will record more Antheil works!" Report Abuse
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