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Paine: Symphony No 2 "In the Spring" / Falletta

Release Date: 03/10/2015 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8559748   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  John Knowles Paine
Conductor:  JoAnn Falletta
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ulster Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
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CD:  $12.99
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The late 19th century witnessed unprecedented musical growth in the United States, and it is impossible to imagine a Copland, an Ives or even a Gershwin without the pioneering groundwork of the ‘Boston Six’, of whom John Knowles Paine was the senior member. Favorite among his own works, Paine’s Second Symphony was described on its New York première as “a serious, important and totally beautiful work.” His Prelude to the tragic play Oedipus Tyrannus was an immediate hit, while An Ocean Fantasy was his last orchestral piece.


The second CD of a two-volume set of the orchestral music of the late-Romantic American composer John Knowles Paine, this 2015 Naxos release presents the Prelude to the play
Read more Oedipus Tyrannus, a premiere recording of the tone poem Poseidon and Amphitrite - An Ocean Fantasy, and the Symphony No. 2 in A major, "In the Spring." Paine was a respected music professor at Harvard University and the most prominent member of the group of composers called the Boston Six, so his influence on the development of American symphonic music was significant. However, the flavor of Paine's music is actually less American than German, as befitted his European training and the music that dominated concert halls at mid-century. In Paine, one can hear traces of Mendelssohn, Schumann, and Brahms, so a measure of the musical taste can be taken in his music, particularly in the Second Symphony, which was a popular success and Paine's favorite among his works. JoAnn Falletta conducts the Ulster Orchestra in these performances, and the playing is robust and solid, if not especially vibrant. Because Paine's music is quite conservative and lacking in dramatic effects, the orchestral palette is not especially colorful, so the musicians have less distinctive sonorities in Paine's rather homogenous scoring. This is a respectable presentation, if not a revelation, and anyone interested in the beginnings of the American symphonic tradition should hear this album.

– Blair Sanderson, All Music Guide Read less

Works on This Recording

Symphony no 2 in A major, Op. 34 "Spring" by John Knowles Paine
Conductor:  JoAnn Falletta
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ulster Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1879 
Oedipus Tyrannus, Op. 35: Prelude by John Knowles Paine
Conductor:  JoAnn Falletta
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ulster Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880-1881; USA 
Poseidon and Amphitrite, Op. 44 by John Knowles Paine
Conductor:  JoAnn Falletta
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ulster Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1888 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 American romantic August 24, 2015 By Ralph Graves (Hood, VA) See All My Reviews "Paine's Symphony No. 2 in A major, op. 34 shows why his music was so well-regarded abroad. Although subtitled "In the Spring," this 1879 work isn't a strictly programmatic work. Instead of painting a detailed picture, or telling a story, the music simply presents impressions of what the movements claim to be about (Awakening of Nature, May-Night Fantasy, etc.) The work reminds me quite strongly of Mendelssohn and Schumann symphonies. The orchestration is straight-forward like Mendelssohn's, while the harmonic progressions owe more to Schumann with their lushness (and seem to echo Stephen Foster in places). Also included are two shorter orchestral works: The Prelude to "Oedipus Tyrannus" and "Poseidon and Amphitrite." The latter, subtitled "An Ocean Fantasy" evokes the motion of the sea without being obvious about it. JoAnn Falletta leads the Ulster Orchestra in straightforward no-nonsense performances of these works. Paine's symphony may not be as full-blooded as those of Brahms, but I think it holds up well by comparison. An important addition to the collection of American repertoire recordings." Report Abuse
 A Charmer from Start to Finish August 7, 2015 By Louis Cantolupo (Woodbridge, VA) See All My Reviews "This is one of the highlights of Naxos' series on American Classics. Do not look for a distinct American sound, but simply great music in the European Romantic tradition. A well-chosen and organized program. The Ulster Orchestra under JoAnn Falletta are in splendid form." Report Abuse
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