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Adams: Harmonium; Rachmaninoff: The Bells / Shaw, Et Al


Release Date: 10/29/1996 
Label:  Telarc   Catalog #: 80365   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  John AdamsSergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Victor LedbetterRenée FlemingKarl Dent
Conductor:  Robert Shaw
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Atlanta Symphony OrchestraAtlanta Symphony Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This disc received the 1998 Grammy Award for "Best Choral Performance."
Although 'Harmonium' incorporates the steady, hallmark pulse of the Minimalist school, the work was borne out of the composer's frustration with what he calls the stifling "Great Prairies of non-event" that he felt plagued the school of Minimalist composition in the 1970s. A gorgeous piece, and one which receives what is perhaps its definitive performance here, 'Harmonium' is a feast of evocative harmonies that recalls Beethoven's cantata, 'Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage.'
'The Bells' by Rachmaninov, a birth-to-death piece inspired by a translation of a poem by Edgar Allan Poe, is a work of varying emotional temperaments that effectively capture the various
Read more stages of life. With Shaw's buoyant and masterful reading of the opening Allegro, this first movement encapsulates the jaunty, sunny nature and innocence of youth. But with the Lento the carefree essence of youth gives way to the serenity that comes with courtship and marriage. Hints of sorrow underscore the feeling of foreboding in the next movement, Presto, as old age approaches. Finally, the "pessimistic passion" (as one Russian critic put it) of the Lento lugubre harrowingly captures the inevitability and finality of death. Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Harmonium by John Adams
Conductor:  Robert Shaw
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Atlanta Symphony Orchestra,  Atlanta Symphony Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1980; USA 
Date of Recording: 11/1995 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Woodruff Center, Atlanta 
Length: 35 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Language: English 
2.
The Bells, Op. 35 by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Victor Ledbetter (Baritone), Renée Fleming (Soprano), Karl Dent (Tenor)
Conductor:  Robert Shaw
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Atlanta Symphony Orchestra,  Atlanta Symphony Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1913; Russia 
Date of Recording: 11/1995 
Venue:  Symphony Hall, Woodruff Center, Atlanta 
Length: 38 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Language: English 

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