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Meredith Willson: Symphony no 1 and 2 / Stromberg, Moscow SO


Release Date: 10/26/1999 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8559006   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Meredith Willson
Conductor:  William T. Stromberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 11 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Best known for writing "The Music Man" for Broadway, Meredith Willson was, in fact, born in Iowa and played Flute for John Philip Sousa's own band before joining the New York Philharmonic. His many orchestral works include the score for Charlie Chaplin's film "The Great Dictator" and these two wonderful Symphonies.

Meredith Willson, certainly one of the most remarkable individuals in the history of American music, is finally given his due by these world premiere recordings of his two symphonies of 1936 and 1940.
The First Symphony was written as a commemorative piece for the 30th anniversary of the San Francisco earthquake of 1916. But rather than recall the horror of that event, the piece is
Read more more of a tone poem celebrating the city. The second movement, however, is poignant in its evocation of a city rebuilding itself. The rising opening violin line, emulating a rebirth out of the ashes, is particularly effective.
The Second Symphony, another work celebrating the glory of California, has a vague Spanish character to it as it pays homage to Father Junipero Serra, a "padre-pioneer" in the words of Willson. As with the First Symphony, the outstanding movement is the Andante with its veiled references to Gregorian chant and its Spanish motives as an allusion to the Spanish mission founded by Serra.
William Stromberg, a conductor who has an affinity for performing film music, is to be commended for bringing to light these once forgotten works with sterling performances from the Moscow Symphony Orchestra.

"The symphonies are actually very robust and large-scaled endeavors whose elaborate and sure-footed facture and Romantic rhetoric derive directly from the Chadwick school by way of the latter's pupil Henry Hadley, with whom the precocious Iowan [Willson] studied... Those of us who are convinced that a huge and fertile layer of medium-range musical Americana remains largely and unjustly neglected by the recording industry have to applaud this example of the industry and dedication of Naxos's 'American Classics' series, especially coming the heels of its wonderful Roger Russell Bennett tribute." - Paul A. Snook, FANFARE
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 1 in F minor "A Symphony of San Francisco" by Meredith Willson
Conductor:  William T. Stromberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; USA 
Date of Recording: 06/1998 
Venue:  Mosfilm Studios, Moscow, Russia 
Length: 38 Minutes 39 Secs. 
2.
Symphony no 2 in E minor "The Missions of California" by Meredith Willson
Conductor:  William T. Stromberg
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940; USA 
Date of Recording: 06/1998 
Venue:  Mosfilm Studios, Moscow, Russia 
Length: 31 Minutes 42 Secs. 

Featured Sound Samples

Symphony no 1, First Movement

Sound Samples

Symphony No. 1 in F minor, "A Symphony of San Francisco": I Andante - Allegro, ma molto moderato - Allegro moderato - Vivace
Symphony No. 1 in F minor, "A Symphony of San Francisco": II Andante
Symphony No. 1 in F minor, "A Symphony of San Francisco": III Presto
Symphony No. 1 in F minor, "A Symphony of San Francisco": IV Allegro
Symphony No. 2 in E minor, "The Missions of California": I Junipero Serra (Lento - Allegro)
Symphony No. 2 in E minor, "The Missions of California": II San Juan Bautista (Andante)
Symphony No. 2 in E minor, "The Missions of California": III San Juan Capistrano (Vivace)
Symphony No. 2 in E minor, "The Missions of California": IV El Camino Real (Allegro, a la marcia)

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Good July 6, 2012 By F. Franssen (Roermond, Limburg) See All My Reviews "Good music for listening. Very seriously." Report Abuse
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