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Diamond, Babbitt, Persichetti / Juilliard Orchestra

Release Date: 12/08/1992 
Label:  New World Records   Catalog #: 80396   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  David DiamondMilton BabbittVincent Persichetti
Conductor:  Christopher KeenePaul ZukofskyJames DePreist
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Juilliard Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 56 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

What justification for bringing Babbitt, Diamond and Persichetti on to a single CD? You may have guessed—they were born within a year of each other in 1915-16. It may still seem odd planning until one realizes that this is part of the Juilliard American Music Recording Institute (JAMRI) series on New World. Like earlier couplings the new release shows off the Juilliard Orchestra splendidly and the works are well chosen to bring out the best of each composer in a substantial and characteristic piece.

Babbitt's Relata I had an uncomfortable start. It was written in 1965 and first performed by the Cleveland Orchestra the following year under Gunther Schuller. Rehearsal time was woefully inadequate and there was some hostility
Read more from the players—an oboist suggested that his high notes might be transferred to the piccolo! It is a measure of what progress has been made in a quarter of a century that a fine conservatoire can turn out a scintillating performance of such a problematic piece which can now be given the test of repeated hearings adding usefully to the amount of Babbitt available on CD.

I may have seemed rather negative about Persichetti's Piano Concerto and Symphony for Strings when reviewing this same label's recording of these works last month, finding the writing over-inflated or nondescript. This is not the case with his Night Dances (1970) where a set of seven movements is each based on a line of poetry from various modern poets. The scoring is subtly expert and varied from movement to movement. Track 3 is a Nocturne—''Sleep to dreamier sleep be wed'' (James Joyce)—redolent of Britten, it is followed by a suitably apocalyptic treatment of a line from Dylan Thomas, and the swirling gestures of the rapid finale make a strong ending.

David Diamond is enjoying something of a revival. His Second Symphony was broadcast by the BBC last December and now the much less sprawling Fifth is recorded—and the Second and Fourth as well (reviewed in April). Diamond spent a long time on his Fifth, he started the work in 1951 and it was finished in 1964, after the Sixth, Seventh and Eighth, when Bernstein was interested in performing it. When he gave the Fifth with the NYPO he found it to be ''a work that revives one's hopes for the symphonic form''. This is a good performance by the young Juilliard Orchestra: what stands out is the near-Elgarian rapture of some of the eloquent string-writing. The coda for solo cello is striking, too. The faster music derives from Hindemith, especially the fugues, which Diamond is proud of, but the overall structure is elusive.'

-- Peter Dickinson, Gramophone [7/1991]
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Works on This Recording

Symphony no 5 by David Diamond
Conductor:  Christopher Keene
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Juilliard Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1951/1964; USA 
Date of Recording: 05/1990 
Venue:  Juilliard Theatre, NYC 
Length: 20 Minutes 32 Secs. 
Relata I by Milton Babbitt
Conductor:  Paul Zukofsky
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Juilliard Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 02/1990 
Venue:  Juilliard Theatre, NYC 
Length: 14 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Night Dances, Op 114 by Vincent Persichetti
Conductor:  James DePreist
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Juilliard Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1970; USA 
Date of Recording: 11/1989 
Venue:  Manhattan Center, New York City 
Length: 21 Minutes 17 Secs. 

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