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American Spectrum / Marsalis, Llewellyn, North Carolina Symphony


Release Date: 02/24/2009 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 1644   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Michael DaughertyJohn T. WilliamsNed RoremChristopher Rouse
Performer:  Branford Marsalis
Conductor:  Grant Llewellyn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North Carolina Symphony OrchestraBranford Marsalis Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

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



A recession can bring out the best in orchestras, as this colourful collection proves in an inspiring way

From the North Carolina SO comes a heartening portrait of an America in rude artistic health. Ned Rorem and Christopher Rouse both contribute absorbing works, while fans of John Williams’s Herrmannesque score to the film Catch Me If You Can will love his suite. A terrific calling-card from an orchestra only now perhaps truly earning the reputation it deserves.

-- Gramophone [6/2009]

This enterprising
Read more collection of attractive, listenable contemporary music really is great fun. Michael Daugherty's Sunset Strip offers a typically eclectic mix of classical and popular music styles, including in its finale a very ingenious tribute to Ravel's Boléro. Escapades has the advantage of Branford Marsalis' always-capable solo playing, but it's also one of John Williams' better concertante pieces, full of memorable invention, skillfully scored.

Ned Rorem's Lions is the earliest work here, dating from 1963. Much of it is strikingly beautiful, especially the string "halos" that evoke the world of dreams that inspired its composition. Truth be told, classical/jazz fusion pieces such as this (never mind the excellent playing of the Branford Marsalis Quartet) can sound dated taken by themselves, but not in this company, as part of this particular program--an inspired way to revive a fine, neglected work.

Christopher Rouse's Friandise is a short ballet in the form of a French baroque dance suite--sort of. The introduction is modern, the ensuing sicilienne, passepied, and sarabande clearly evoke the old school, but the brilliant concluding gallop (with its humorous salutes to composers as diverse as Offenbach and Khachaturian) brings us firmly into the 20th, or 21st century. The North Carolina Symphony plays with great spirit and dash under Grant Llewellyn. As just noted, the soloists are terrific, and the sonics, while a touch dry, let you hear everything that you need to, in just proportion. Splendid.

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

1.
Sunset Strip by Michael Daugherty
Conductor:  Grant Llewellyn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North Carolina Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1999; USA 
2.
Escapades by John T. Williams
Performer:  Branford Marsalis (Alto Saxophone)
Conductor:  Grant Llewellyn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North Carolina Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
3.
Lions (A Dream) for Jazz Quartet and Orchestra by Ned Rorem
Performer:  Branford Marsalis (Alto Saxophone)
Conductor:  Grant Llewellyn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North Carolina Symphony Orchestra,  Branford Marsalis Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
4.
Friandises by Christopher Rouse
Conductor:  Grant Llewellyn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  North Carolina Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 

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