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Don Ray: Homestead Dances / Gleeson, Dublin PO


Release Date: 06/05/2007 
Label:  Albany Records   Catalog #: 934   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Don Brandon Ray
Conductor:  Derek Gleeson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 9 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Don Ray joined CBS in 1956 as a staff composer--his credits include work on such hits as The Twilight Zone and Hawaii Five-O. Obviously the hallmark of this sort of work is versatility, and that is exactly what this disc of concert pieces shows. Both works revel in the sort of rural Americana popularized by Copland and Virgil Thomson, though without the Stravinskian element of the former, or the French sophistication of the latter. Ray's music is direct, tuneful, sometimes a little stiffly phrased, and, well, "commercial", but certainly appealing if this style is your cup of tea. Certainly as a composer Ray is far more interesting than, say, Karl Jenkins (of Diamond Music fame).

Homestead Dances, for oboes and
Read more strings, is a suite of dances reminiscent of the old folks gatherings of the composer's youth. It's a substantial piece, about three quarters of an hour long, in nine movements. Threading through the work are three waltzes that chart the three stages of life, from youth to maturity to old age. It's delightful. Family Portrait Suite No. 1, for full orchestra, once again recalls Thomson's musical "portraits". Ray offers six brief, sharply contrasted vignettes, covering a broad range styles and colors, with popular dance idioms clearly in evidence. The performances are all very satisfying--fresh and lively as the music requires--and the engineering is outstanding. A very pleasant and fun release.

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

1.
Homestead Dances (9) by Don Brandon Ray
Conductor:  Derek Gleeson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1986-1996; USA 
Date of Recording: 11/09/2004 
Venue:  Radio Telefis Eireann Studio no 1, Dubli 
Length: 52 Minutes 26 Secs. 
2.
Family Portrait: Suite no 1 by Don Brandon Ray
Conductor:  Derek Gleeson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1994; USA 
Date of Recording: 11/09/2004 
Venue:  Radio Telefis Eireann Studio no 1, Dubli 
Length: 16 Minutes 46 Secs. 

Featured Sound Samples

Homestead Dances: 1. Promenade
Family Portrait: Suite no 1: 2. Rembert

Sound Samples

Homestead Dances: I. Promenade
Homestead Dances: II. A Waltz for Young Lovers
Homestead Dances: III. Stomp Dance
Homestead Dances: IV. Wedding Waltz
Homestead Dances: V. The Good Ladies of the WCTU
Homestead Dances: VI. Waltz: The Joys of Daily Living
Homestead Dances: VII. The Quilter's Dance
Homestead Dances: VIII. A Waltz for Old Lovers
Homestead Dances: IX. Farmhand's Dance
Family Portrait, "Suite No. 1": I. Robert Absalom
Family Portrait, "Suite No. 1": II. Rembert
Family Portrait, "Suite No. 1": III. Fred
Family Portrait, "Suite No. 1": IV. Leah
Family Portrait, "Suite No. 1": V. Ruby
Family Portrait, "Suite No. 1": VI. Family Picnic

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