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Antheil: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1 / Storgards, BBC Philharmonic

Release Date: 05/19/2017 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 10941  
Composer:  George Antheil
Conductor:  John Storgårds
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

A brilliant recording all around, and an important one.

Given the excellence of Hugh Wolff’s CPO disc of these same two symphonies, I wasn’t sure the music truly merited yet another recording. I was wrong.

Rather than placing these symphonies squarely in the mid-century mainstream, as Wolff does, John Storgårds revels in their idiosyncrasies, revealing a wealth of expressive detail I’d never heard before. In Storgårds’s hands, the stark and often macabre juxtapositions of the Fourth Symphony (1942) suggest that Antheil knew Mahler’s music very well, and not just the Mahlerian aspects of Shostakovich’s work.

is only
Read more slightly less compelling. In the first movement of The Fifth (1948), Storgårds’s measured tempo adds weight but often at the expense of bite – though the coda packs quite a wallop. The central Adagio is beautifully sustained. The finale simply sounds ‘cosmopolitan’ – which Antheil certainly was.

The disc also includes the recorded premiere of Over the Plains (1945). It’s pure Antheil in its unabashed weirdness.

A brilliant recording all around, and an important one. Bring on the next installment.

– Gramophone Read less

Works on This Recording

Over the Plains by George Antheil
Conductor:  John Storgårds
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; United States 
Symphony no 4 "1942" by George Antheil
Conductor:  John Storgårds
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942; United States 
Symphony no 5 "Joyous" by George Antheil
Conductor:  John Storgårds
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1947-1948; United States 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 A Brief Review of George Antheil's Symphonies #4  December 4, 2017 By Terrell Rodefer (Van Nuys, CA) See All My Reviews "I always start these reviews by stating that aural beauty is in the ears of the listener. I was only a little familiar with Antheil's works and wanted to pick up some more...and glad I did. I find in these compositions things I find fun to listen to: march-like, bouncy sections; areas of loud, brassy gusto; what I call a "journey of imagination"-- no apparent structure, just continuous plugging forward. That's what I like." Report Abuse
 Antheil's music, for a change May 25, 2017 By Dean Frey See All My Reviews "You don't have to go very far into most articles about George Antheil before you come across the phrase "bad boy of music". There you go, it's happened again! That's the first thing that comes to mind for many when the name comes up. Antheil's reputation is, more than any composer I can think of, a victim of the non-musical components of his life. We seem to value his work with Lamarr in inventing frequency-hopping spread-spectrum communication more than his actual music. This would be fine if his music weren't so attractive and impressive. Chandos begins another orchestral music series with this new disc of Antheil Symphonies, and it's nice to finally zero in on the actual music for a change. Both symphonies are muscular, energetic mid-century symphonies with Russian finger-prints all over them, both via the movie-score milieu in which Antheil lived and direct from the latest works of Prokofiev and Shostakovich. But they also have tender moments and the kind of very fine details that are the sign of an original musician. We used to make fun of how British actors sounded when they were playing Americans in the movies and on TV. Nowadays, of course, that's no longer the case; Ewan McGregor plays not one but two Minnesotans to perfection in Noah Hawley's Fargo. The hallmark of this Chandos release is authenticity, which of course is an important component of all music, not just Early Music. It's no special surprise that a British orchestra under a Finnish conductor can be so convincing in this music, since Antheil is writing in an International Style, where Berlin and Paris loom nearly as large as his later home, Hollywood. But getting the last nuance of the American side of the Trenton, New Jersey native Antheil is an impressive, McGregor-level, achievement. We can't tell for sure until the score makes its way to orchestras on this side of the Atlantic, but this world premiere recording of Antheil's Over the Plains has just the right Gary Cooper movie studio backlot feel that proves it's the real cowboy thing. Chandos nails the authentic feel with the cover of their disc, taken from this vintage postcard of Hollywood Boulevard at Night, from Lake County Museum. Bring on the rest of Antheil's symphonies!" Report Abuse
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