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American Classics - Harris: Symphonies 3 & 4 "Folksong Symphony" / Alsop, Colorado Symphony Orchestra


Release Date: 07/25/2006 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8559227   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Roy Harris
Conductor:  Marin Alsop
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Colorado Symphony OrchestraColorado Symphony Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 59 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

I have to confess that I was a bit concerned at the opening of this new performance of Roy Harris' Third Symphony, where Marin Alsop and the otherwise very good Colorado Symphony fail to match the urgency and passion of Bernstein's benchmark Sony recording. Once the piece gets moving, however, the music quickly builds to an explosive account of the big fugue, with brilliant contributions from the brass, while the tragic conclusion with its pounding timpani pedal is perhaps the most intense yet captured on disc. Certainly no one has made the final bars sound more convincing or inevitable. Just a touch more drive at the very beginning and this might have been the new reference recording for the work, but as it is my reservations are minuscule Read more and it's definitely a "keeper".


Having a modern recording on hand of the delightful "Folk Song Symphony" certainly adds to the disc's attractions. There's only one other that enjoyed general circulation, Golschmann's on Vanguard, and heaven only knows if it's still available. In any case, this one is definitely superior sonically, though I marginally prefer the earlier version's quicker tempos in Western Cowboy and Negro Fantasy (the second and sixth movements, respectively). Alsop still has the edge, though, in terms of both singing and playing, and her quicker sections pack an even bigger punch than the Vanguard release. This is a really attractive work that ought to be better known. If the composer in question had been English/Irish (and some of the tunes actually are: The Girl I Left Behind Me, a.k.a. The Wandering Laborer, also appears in Hamilton Harty's "Irish" Symphony), we'd no doubt have a plethora of modern recordings from which to choose. Never mind: this one will do very nicely.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 3 by Roy Harris
Conductor:  Marin Alsop
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Colorado Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; USA 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, Denver, CO 
Length: 17 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Notes: Performing Arts Center, Denver, CO (01/22/2005 - 01/23/2005) 
2.
Symphony no 4 "Folksong Symphony" by Roy Harris
Conductor:  Marin Alsop
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Colorado Symphony Orchestra,  Colorado Symphony Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940; USA 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, Denver, CO 
Length: 40 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Performing Arts Center, Denver, CO (01/22/2005 - 01/23/2005) 

Sound Samples

Symphony No. 3
Symphony No. 4, "Folksong Symphony": I. The Girl I Left Behind Me
Symphony No. 4, "Folksong Symphony": II. Western Cowboy
Symphony No. 4, "Folksong Symphony": III. Interlude: Dance Tunes for Strings and Percussion
Symphony No. 4, "Folksong Symphony": IV. Mountaineer Love Song
Symphony No. 4, "Folksong Symphony": V. Interlude: Dance Tunes for Full Orchestra
Symphony No. 4, "Folksong Symphony": VI. Negro Fantasy
Symphony No. 4, "Folksong Symphony": VII. Johnny Comes Marching Home

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Fresh View of a Neglected Masterpiece April 10, 2012 By robert jones (scott depot, WV) See All My Reviews "Among recorded performances of American music, Bernstein's Harris 3rd is legendary. It was also alone in the archives.Either Harris' masterpiece was not worth the cost or the artistic risk too great. Here, orchestra and conductor simply take a fresh new approach and a much needed affirmation of America's first great symphony. Bernstein's reading is dramatic and played with a sense of urgency. The SOUND is vast and breezy like the great plains. Its ending is tragic, as with The Plow That Broke the Plains. The Alsop reading is more thoughtful, lyrical and deliberate in its pace, the woodwinds more pastoral. We have been given a new view, not a hard choice. If you love the work, you will love both approaches. The Folk Symphony is good musical fun, great for youngsters." Report Abuse
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