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American Classics - Fry: Santa Claus Symphony, Etc / Rowe


Release Date: 02/20/2001 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8559057   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  William Henry Fry
Conductor:  Tony Rowe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


William Henry Fry (1813-64) was the first native-born American to write for large orchestral forces (and the first to compose a grand opera), and was a vociferous supporter of music home-grown in the good old U.S.A. That's not to say Fry's music didn't contain European influences: traces of Berlioz, Wagner, and Verdi all show up in his work; but he also manages to include elements of (then) American popular song. For example, the Santa Claus Symphony of 1853 (really more of an extended symphonic poem) features "Rock-a-bye Baby" played on a soprano saxophone. Actually, Santa Claus makes only a brief appearance in this narrative-derived piece, which among other things depicts a lost traveler
Read more dying in a snowstorm and the birth of the Savior, before ending with the strings intoning "O come, all ye faithful". Fry's orchestral writing is vividly picturesque, with much imagination lavished on the score's fantasy elements.


An even more graphic portrayal can be found in the 1854 Niagara Symphony, which after a rumbling introduction roars out a big unison theme that mimics the Tuba mirum from Mozart's Requiem. The Overture to Macbeth (1864) contains some pretty exciting passages as well, and here's where the Berlioz influence is particularly strong (especially in the witches' music). Lastly, Fry's The Breaking Heart (a work once believed to be lost) shows his love for Italian bel canto in its many lyrical and "operatic" passages. All told, this is a highly compelling album of some first-rate 19th century orchestral music, enthusiastically and stylishly performed by Tony Rowe and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and recorded in top-drawer sound--another winner in Naxos' spectacular American Classics series.
--Victor Carr Jr., ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Santa Claus "Christmas Symphony" by William Henry Fry
Conductor:  Tony Rowe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1853; USA 
Date of Recording: 08/1999 
Venue:  Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow, Scotland 
Length: 26 Minutes 14 Secs. 
2.
Macbeth: Overture by William Henry Fry
Conductor:  Tony Rowe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1862; USA 
Date of Recording: 08/1999 
Venue:  Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow, Scotland 
Length: 10 Minutes 33 Secs. 
3.
Niagara Symphony by William Henry Fry
Conductor:  Tony Rowe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1854; USA 
Date of Recording: 08/1999 
Venue:  Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow, Scotland 
Length: 13 Minutes 39 Secs. 
4.
The Breaking Heart by William Henry Fry
Conductor:  Tony Rowe
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1852; USA 
Date of Recording: 08/1999 
Venue:  Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow, Scotland 
Length: 10 Minutes 48 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 American Firsts January 31, 2017 By owen  ryan (lakewood, CA) See All My Reviews "Fry '' was the first native-born American to write for large symphonic forces, and the first to write a grand opera. He was the first music critic for a major newspaper, and the first vociferously to insist that Americans support the music created on their own soil.'' (Kile Smith, booklet notes). Also,perhaps the first use of the newly invented saxophone in a symphony. This CD offers the first public hearing ever of two of the four selections. This is easy, mostly light, listening that is fully enjoyable. Good audio by that Naxos stalwart Tim Handley. Do your American duty and buy this (made in Canada) disc." Report Abuse
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