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William Schuman: Symphony No 4, Credendum, Piano Concerto

Release Date: 03/25/2003 
Label:  Albany Records   Catalog #: 566   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  William Schuman
Performer:  John McCabe
Conductor:  David Alan Miller
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Albany Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 12 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This selection is a Super Audio CD, which is designed for use only on Super Audio CD players.


This is remarkably difficult music to play, and the Albany strings and brass deserve enormous credit (alongside conductor David Alan Miller) for getting through all three works with world-class results. The most exciting work here is Credendum (1955), a tightly knit three movements full of arresting sonorities from brass and percussion, kinetic energy, and even a memorably plaintive tune or two. It's a knockout, alone worth the price of the disc.

You would think that given the popularity of William Schuman's Third Symphony its successor would enjoy at least the occasional outing, and on
Read more evidence here it deserves to. The opening is quite arresting: an English horn tune over a plodding bass line that gradually encompasses the full orchestra and ignites the ensuing allegro. Schuman marks the slow movement "Tenderly, simply", and that describes it perfectly, while the bustling finale takes on some very effective fugal writing along the way to a bold C major close. It's truly a mystery why this music isn't played more often.

Finally, there's the Piano Concerto. Despite some jazzy (or bluesy) thematic material and the advocacy of John McCabe, always persuasive both as composer and performer, this piece still sounds a bit clunky and awkward--thickly scored despite the use of what is essentially a chamber orchestra for the accompaniment. Schuman's idiom, at least to the extent that it opposes distinct blocks of sound and relies on instrumental color to maintain polyphonic clarity, doesn't transfer well to the keyboard. But really, given the all-around excellence on offer, who cares?

Both stereo and SACD (stereo only) editions sound very good, with just a touch of boxiness around the massed brass at the climaxes. This release marks an important addition to the discography of American music--a worthy tribute to a fine and (now) neglected composer whose reputation cannot be assessed until more of his output is available for all to hear and judge. Put this one squarely in the "plus" column! [5/3/2003]
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Credendum, Article of Faith by William Schuman
Conductor:  David Alan Miller
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Albany Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1955; USA 
Concerto for Piano by William Schuman
Performer:  John McCabe (Piano)
Conductor:  David Alan Miller
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Albany Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938/1942; USA 
Symphony no 4 by William Schuman
Conductor:  David Alan Miller
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Albany Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; USA 

Sound Samples

Credendum, Article of Faith: I. Declaration: Moderato con fuoco -
Credendum, Article of Faith: II. Chorale: Lento -
Credendum, Article of Faith: III. Finale: Presto
Piano Concerto: I. With enery and precision
Piano Concerto: II. Deliberately -
Piano Concerto: III. half note = ca. 144
Symphony No. 4: I. Vigoroso con spirito (quarter note = ca. 72)
Symphony No. 4: II. Tenderly, simply
Symphony No. 4: III. quarter note = 144

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Terrific June 13, 2013 By Reg Jones (Hamilton, VA) See All My Reviews "Wonderful music in strong performances captured in gorgeous sound." Report Abuse
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