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Lou Harrison - In Retrospect

Release Date: 04/03/2007 
Label:  New World Records   Catalog #: 80666   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Lou Harrison
Performer:  Heather SloanWilliam WinantLeta MillerLeroy Kromm,   ... 
Conductor:  Nicole A. PaiementDennis Russell Davies
Orchestra/Ensemble:  U. C. Santa Cruz Chamber SingersSanta Cruz Orchestra University of California
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 4 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Solstice, a ballet lasting a scant half hour, is one of Lou Harrison's most beautiful creations, a masterpiece of enchanting sonorities achieved by the most economical of means. It's scored for an octet consisting of flute, oboe, trumpet, two cellos, bass, tack piano, and celesta. This, the work's only complete recording, is absolutely perfect in every respect. The playing is superb: the balances allow every Eastern-tinged musical strand to glow, and conductor Dennis Russell Davies' tempos are right on. He recorded a suite (in a work this short, what's the point?) for Argo, but this complete version is audibly superior. Originally released on Musicmasters (along with Ariadne), I can't recommend this
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Making this disc even more appealing, the couplings are plainly more interesting than the Musicmasters original issue. The Concerto for Flute and Percussion is an early piece (1939) that reveals Harrison's interest in experimenting with percussion sonorities before the Eastern influence became pervasive. Strict Songs is a gorgeous piece for choir, soloists, and chamber orchestra that deserves to be much better known. The words are typically "new age" but their very simplicity renders them timeless. We can only hope that the rest of Musicmasters' Harrison catalog appears on New World in due course. He was a major voice in 20th century music, and the excellent discography of his works that appeared in the last couple of decades of his life does not deserve to languish.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Concerto for Flute and Percussion no 1 by Lou Harrison
Performer:  Heather Sloan (Percussion), William Winant (Percussion), Leta Miller (Flute)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; USA 
Length: 8 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Strict Songs (4) by Lou Harrison
Performer:  Leroy Kromm (Baritone)
Conductor:  Nicole A. Paiement
Orchestra/Ensemble:  U. C. Santa Cruz Chamber Singers,  Santa Cruz Orchestra University of California
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Length: 19 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Notes: Composition written: USA (1955).
Composition revised: USA (1992). 
Ariadne by Lou Harrison
Performer:  William Winant (Percussion), Leta Miller (Flute)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1987; USA 
Date of Recording: 07/1989 
Venue:  Concert Hall, Univ of Cal, Santa Cruz 
Length: 8 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Solstice: Suite by Lou Harrison
Performer:  Emily Wong George (Tack piano), Leta Miller (Flute), Nohema Fernandez (Celesta),
Yvonne Powers (Oboe), Lee Duckles (Cello), Stephen Tramontazzi (Double Bass),
Peter Shelton (Cello), Adam Gordon (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Dennis Russell Davies
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949; USA 
Date of Recording: 07/1989 
Venue:  Concert Hall, Univ of Cal, Santa Cruz 
Length: 26 Minutes 57 Secs. 

Sound Samples

First Concerto For Flute & Percussion: 1. Earnest, Fresh, And Fastish
First Concerto For Flute & Percussion: 2. Slow & Poignant
First Concerto For Flute & Percussion: 3. Strong, Swinging, & Fastish
Strict Songs: No. 1, Here Is Holiness
Strict Songs: No. 2, Here Is Nourishment
Strict Songs: No. 3, Here Is Tenderness
Strict Songs: No. 4, Here Is Splendor
Ariadne: Ariadne Abandoned
Ariadne: The Triumph Of Ariadne & Dionysos
Solstice, Part 1: Garden Of The Sun
Solstice, Part 1: Entrance Of The Moon Bull
Solstice, Part 1: Battle
Solstice, Part 1: Earth's Invitation
Solstice, Part 1: Vernal Dance
Solstice, Part 2: Saturnalia
Solstice, Part 2: Rekindling Of The Fire
Solstice, Part 2: Turning Of The Wheel
Solstice, Part 2: Blaze Of Day

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