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Daugherty: Tales of Hemingway / Guerrero, Nashville Symphony

Release Date: 09/09/2016 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8559798  
Composer:  Michael Daugherty
Performer:  Zuill BaileyPaul Jacobs
Conductor:  Giancarlo Guerrero
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Listen to the Naxos Podcast to learn more about this release

GRAMMY® Award-winning composer Michael Daugherty creates colorful musical portraits in this recording, featuring larger-than-life personalities drawn from 20th-century American culture. Tales of Hemingway is a dramatic cello concerto, evoking the turbulent life, adventures and literature of author Ernest Hemingway. American Gothic is a dynamic concerto for orchestra, reflecting on the creative world of Iowa artist Grant Wood. Once Upon a Castle is a virtuosic sinfonia concertante for organ and orchestra,
Read more inspired by the rich history of the Hearst Castle, built lhigh upon the California Pacific coast by billionaire Randolph Hearst, the subject of Orson Welles' film Citizen Kane. Under the baton of Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero, the GRAMMY® Award-winning Nashville Symphony is joined by Zuill bailey, one of the leading cellists of his generation, and GRAMMY® Award-winning organist Paul Jacobs.



Tales of Hemingway does exactly what a good modern cello concerto is supposed to do: it exploits every facet the solo’s expressive range, from soulful melody to virtuoso pyrotechnics, and it gives Zuill Bailey a rich opportunity to show off his impressive technique and seductive timbre amid the most wide-ranging and colorful accompaniments.

Daugherty just might have saved the best for last. It’s great to see composers writing appealing music for organ and orchestra given the recent and welcome trend to install new, expensive, technically marvelous concert hall organs in performing arts centers, and this piece is a whopper. Its nominal inspiration (by way of the film Citizen Kane) is Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California, as ostentatious and vulgar a building as anyone has yet attempted. Any large work for organ and orchestra simply must plumb the depths of bombast–hopefully in a good way–and Daugherty literally pulls out all of the stops in this one. The finale has all of the glitz and glamor of the gilded age (sound clip), and the piece surely deserves repertoire status–but then, all of these works do. It only remains to be said that the performances, excellently recorded live before a very courteous audience, bring the music vividly to life. The Nashville Symphony really is a fine ensemble. Giancarlo Guerrero conducts with evident enthusiasm, and as already suggested the soloists, cellist Zuill Bailey and organist Paul Jacobs, couldn’t be better. Give this one a shot; you’ll be glad you did.

- ClassicsToday (David Hurwitz)

Michael Daugherty is as close to a pop artist a la Lichtenstein and Warhol as contemporary classical music gets. This is instantly communicative music – in no danger of competing in cultural bandwidth with its inspirations but very appealing at its best. And very well-performed by all, especially cellist Zuill Bailey. Three and a half out of four stars.

– Buffalo News (Jeff Simon)

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Works on This Recording

Tales of Hemingway by Michael Daugherty
Performer:  Zuill Bailey (Cello)
Conductor:  Giancarlo Guerrero
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2015; USA 
American Gothic by Michael Daugherty
Conductor:  Giancarlo Guerrero
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2013; USA 
Once upon a Castle by Michael Daugherty
Performer:  Paul Jacobs (Organ)
Conductor:  Giancarlo Guerrero
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2015; USA 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Fabulous Performance! June 20, 2017 By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) See All My Reviews "American composer Michael Daugherty's music is nothing short of revelatory- dynamic, colorful, and direct, with no hidden agendas. On this new Naxos recording, the Nashville Symphony Orchestra presents 3 works, all of them composed within the past 4 years. The first work is called Tales of Hemingway, which is actually a very excellent cello concerto with soloist Zuill Bailey. Each of its four movements carry the title of one of Ernest Hemingway's signature literary works (example- movement #2 is entitled For Whom The Bell Tolls). The exquisite interaction between soloist and orchestra create a wonderfully expressive picture of Hemingway's often chaotic and occasionally bohemian career and lifestyle. Soloist Zuill Bailey is simply magnificent throughout this work, creating a variety of moods which I found ranged from humorous to tragic and poignant. Then the atmosphere rapidly changes to one of pure mid-Western Americana, one of gorgeous lyricism and optimism, in American Gothic, the disk's second work. Built upon the work of American artist Grant Wood, American Gothic is essentially a concerto for orchestra- and what a fascinating journey it takes! This is glorious, upbeat, and compellingly positive music that is played with precision, grace, and power by Nashville's outstanding orchestra. To round out this recording, there is Michael Daugherty's Once Upon A Castle, a work for organ and orchestra inspired by the Hearst Castle's position overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The CD notes label this work as a sinfonia concertante rather than an organ concerto, and this seems appropriate, as the organ's solo passages are short and quickly enveloped in a velvety smooth orchestral cover. To sum all this up, Naxos has given us a disk which should find immediate favor with any classical music fan. If you enjoy high quality, fully tonal modern works that stress expressive beauty and reject angst-ridden 'sophistication,' this excellent recording is for you. The works are exquisite, orchestra and soloists are superb, and of course Naxos' audio engineering is top of the line. Strongly recommended." Report Abuse
 Bold New Music November 1, 2016 By Mark S. (Fort Mill, SC) See All My Reviews "I usually have a negative reaction with a lot of new, contemporary music. First listen is often enjoyable but it usually never stands up to repeated listening. That is not the case with Michael Daugherty -- a distinctive, modern, American voice. Tales of Hemmingway is a cello concerto performed exuberantly by Zuill Bailey. Daugherty's score transforms the cello almost into a multi-stringed instrument. What follows is a Bartok-like concerto for orchestra that is just a blast -- it's a wild ride. I would have never imagined Daugherty composing an organ concerto, but here it is. This is fun yet serious new music, bold and fresh. My only complaint is that I wish the recording had more definition. Had to give it four stars." Report Abuse
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