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MacDowell: Orchestral Suites And Sea Pieces / Johnson, Martinu Philharmonic


Release Date: 02/18/1997 
Label:  Albany Records   Catalog #: 224   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Edward MacDowell
Conductor:  Charles Anthony Johnson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 9 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Edward MacDowell was the first American composer of stature who incorporated native elements into his music and depicted, in Romantic colors, the landscape of America. He composed two Orchestral suites, both in five movements, both structured fast-slow-fast-slow-fast, with each movement being a self-contained, miniature tone poem. The first suite was premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra on September 24, 1891 and in keeping with the spirit of many of his works it evokes pictures of the outdoors - In a haunted forest, Summer Idyll, In October, The Shepherdess' Song and Forest Spirits. His use of native elements is especially evident in his second suite for Orchestra, which was also premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1895. Read more Subtitled Indian Suite, all of the themes are derived from native American Indian melodies. It may also be significant that Dvorak's New York Symphony had appeared two years earlier. MacDowell composed his Sea Pieces in 1885 for solo piano. On this disc, receiving their premiere performance in a version Orchestrated by Charles Johnson, we have six of the eight pieces presented for Orchestra. Charles Johnson graduated with degrees in music from UCLA. From 1967 to 1978, he was on the faculty of Sam Houston State University where he taught music history and theory and conducted the Orchestra. Since 1973, he has pursued a dual career as a conductor and violist. This is the first digital recording of this lovely, romantic music by one of America's finest composers.

R E V I E W S:

"It is criminal that these romantic Orchestral pieces by the American composer Edward MacDowell (1861-1908) are ignored by our symphony Orchestras. Even the Suite No. 2, with its "native Indian melodies" (which may be spurious, for all I know) is expressive music, with energizing rhythms and potent climaxes. The recording was made by a Czech Orchestra - irony anyone? - but it is a fine-sounding group and Johnson's conducting is first-rate. He also Orchestrated the "Sea Pieces" from piano score." (The Oakland Tribune)
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Works on This Recording

1. Suite for Orchestra no 1 in a, Op. 42 by Edward MacDowell
Conductor:  Charles Anthony Johnson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888-1891; USA 
2. Suite for Orchestra no 2, Op. 48 "Indian" by Edward MacDowell
Conductor:  Charles Anthony Johnson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891-1895; USA 
3. Sea Pieces, Op. 55 by Edward MacDowell
Conductor:  Charles Anthony Johnson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1898; USA 
Notes: Arranged: Charles Anthony Johnson 

Sound Samples

Suite No. 2 in E minor, Op. 48, "Indian": I. Legend
Suite No. 2 in E minor, Op. 48, "Indian": II. Love Song
Suite No. 2 in E minor, Op. 48, "Indian": III. In War-Time
Suite No. 2 in E minor, Op. 48, "Indian": IV. Dirge
Suite No. 2 in E minor, Op. 48, "Indian": V. Village Festival
Suite No. 1, Op. 42: I. In a Haunted Forest
Suite No. 1, Op. 42: II. Summer Idyll
Suite No. 1, Op. 42: III. In October
Suite No. 1, Op. 42: IV. The Shepherdess' Song
Suite No. 1, Op. 42: V. Forest Spirits
Sea Pieces, Op. 55 (arr. for orchestra): No. 1. To the Sea
Sea Pieces, Op. 55 (arr. for orchestra): No. 2. From a Wandering Iceberg
Sea Pieces, Op. 55 (arr. for orchestra): No. 3. A.D. MDCXX
Sea Pieces, Op. 55 (arr. for orchestra): No. 4. Starlight
Sea Pieces, Op. 55 (arr. for orchestra): No. 5. Song
Sea Pieces, Op. 55 (arr. for orchestra): No. 7. Nautilus

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