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The Great American Ninth - Roy Harris - Symphonies 8 & 9 / Miller, Albany So


Release Date: 10/24/2006 
Label:  Albany Records   Catalog #: 350   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Roy Harris
Performer:  Alan Feinberg
Conductor:  David Alan Miller
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Albany Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.

"The Great American Ninth", proclaims the cover of this enterprising, excellently recorded disc. Actually, Roy Harris' Eighth Symphony sounds like the finer piece largely on account of its very convincing five-part structure and lovely scoring with prominent parts for bells and amplified piano. Its spaciously conceived tonal arches and broad spans of melody reveal this composer at his best, able to achieve epic grandeur within a surprisingly concise time span. The titles of the various movements should be ignored. Harris' biggest problem isn't musical, but literary. He had no qualms about writing music inspired by "big"
Read more ideas as expressed by poets, philosophers, and politicians, and anyone expecting to hear an aural equivalent of these literary sources is bound to be disappointed. I mean, what do you think "The Joy of Pantheistic Beauty as a Gift of God" is supposed to sound like? Well, in the Eighth Symphony, it sounds like Roy Harris, which is certainly fine enough from a strictly musical point of view--the only perspective from which his works should be enjoyed.


The Ninth Symphony, with movement headings taken from the preamble to the U.S. constitution, begins with a very inventive melodic potpourri ("We, the people...") followed by a gravely beautiful central slow movement. The three-part finale takes a while to get going, and for some listeners it may present something of a barrier to full enjoyment. Not that the music's hard to take; it's actually lovely, but its pastoral meandering, at least after that marvelous slow movement, does seem to hold up the action before working up to the heroic closing pages. Still, repeated listening reveals what fine works both these symphonies are, and the charming Memories of a Child's Sunday makes an instantly appealing disc-opener. The Albany Symphony plays all of this music very well indeed, and David Alan Miller shapes each work with confidence and a sure sense of direction. "Great" music? Who can say? Enjoyable music? Definitely. [4/21/2001]
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Memories of a Child's Sunday by Roy Harris
Conductor:  David Alan Miller
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Albany Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; USA 
Date of Recording: 11/1998 
Venue:  Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, NY 
Length: 11 Minutes 58 Secs. 
2.
Symphony no 8 "San Francisco" by Roy Harris
Performer:  Alan Feinberg (Piano)
Conductor:  David Alan Miller
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Albany Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1962; USA 
Date of Recording: 04/18/1998 
Venue:  Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, NY 
Length: 26 Minutes 19 Secs. 
3.
Symphony no 9 by Roy Harris
Conductor:  David Alan Miller
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Albany Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1962; USA 
Date of Recording: 11/1998 
Venue:  Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, NY 
Length: 28 Minutes 14 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Symphony No. 8, "San Francisco Symphony": Part I, "Chilhood and Youth" -
Symphony No. 8, "San Francisco Symphony": Part II, "Renunciation" -
Symphony No. 8, "San Francisco Symphony": Part III, "The Building of the Chapel" -
Symphony No. 8, "San Francisco Symphony": Part IV, "The Joy of Pantheistic Beauty as a Gift of God" -
Symphony No. 8, "San Francisco Symphony": Part V, "Ecstasy After the Premonition of Death"
Memories of a Child's Sunday: I. Bells
Memories of a Child's Sunday: II. Imagining Things
Memories of a Child's Sunday: III. Play
Symphony No. 9: I. "We, the people"
Symphony No. 9: II. " ... to form a more perfect Union"
Symphony No. 9: III. " ... to promote the general welfare"

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