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Milken Archive - Genesis Suite (1945) / Gerard Schwarz


Release Date: 09/21/2004 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8559442   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Nathaniel ShilkretVariousArnold SchoenbergAlexandre Tansman,   ... 
Performer:  Isaiah ShefferDavid MarguliesTovah FeldshuhFritz Weaver,   ... 
Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony OrchestraErnst Senff Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 56 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Fully restored from recently discovered original manuscripts, the Genesis Suite depicts the earliest Bible stories, narrated by distinguished actors accompanied by full orchestra and chorus. This unique collaboration of seven famous composers was performed only once, in 1945, before much of the music was lost in a fire.

WINNER: 2005 Grammy Award to David Frost – “Producer of the Year, Classical” for Genesis Suite and four other Milken Archive CDs

“The whole idea of the work has long interested me and it’s wonderful to have it fully restored with all the missing sections and given its first modern recording here under Gerard Schwarz’s baton... Fascinating and audacious...” — John Sunier, Audiophile Audition
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“The most significant recent release from the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music... The performances by Gerard Schwarz with the Ernst Senff Choir and Berlin Radio Orchestra are excellent.” — Turok’s Choice

“...here, for the first time in state-of-the-art sound and a magnificent performance led by Gerard Schwarz, you can experience the Genesis Suite in its entirety. Documenting, as it does, an interesting slice of music history in 1940s America, this release is welcome and I would grant even important.” — Jerry Dubins, Fanfare (March/April 2005)

“One of the most fascinating...of the discs in the series... The contributions from Schoenberg and Stravinsky, which bookend the work, are by far the best: concise evocations of primordial chaos striving toward order (Schoenberg) and Creation devolving back toward chaos at the Tower of Babel (Stravinsky). Stravinsky’s ‘Babel’ has a cool sensibility that grows eerie, haunted by his mysterious melodies and rhythms, as well as a long, legato choral chant backed by double-tonguing flutes that evoke the scattering of humanity.” — Richard Scheinin, San Jose Mercury News

“[Schoenberg is]...well chosen for his uncompromising portrayal of the primordial chaotic miasma. The music is suitably dodecaphonic—whirling and active. [Shilkret] supplies a richly stocked and constantly allusive Hollywood-style score. The music is super-Straussian with the vocalising choir painting the dawn of light in a blindingly cinematic evocation... Great fun – an example of saturated cinema kitsch. Golden Age film score aficionados must lose no time and get a copy of this disc immediately. [Milhaud gives] a brisk and vigorous retelling with dramatic music. [Castelnuovo-Tedesco]...his tender music is genuinely touching as you find whenever the narration speaks of Noah and his family. [Toch]...provides the work’s optimistic centre of gravity with its repeated imperious concluding fanfares. [Stravinsky]...links with various of his concert works including Oedipus Rex and the Symphonies of Wind Instruments... A fascinating record of a remarkable moment in time. Its chrome-plated musical sensationalism is enjoyable... I thought it was great fun.” — Rob Barnett, MusicWeb-International.com

“...a fascinating and incredibly diverse musical pastiche that is well worth the effort that went into rescuing it... Their shared mission—to musically illustrate the foundations of Judeo-Christian beliefs—led to grand, cinematically conceived music from most of them... Schoenberg’s skillfully manipulated tone rows make for an eerie, but musically orderly evocation of primordial chaos, while setting an expectant and reverent tone... Shilkret, in perhaps the most cinematic-sounding music here, begins with his own rather atonal miniprelude before underscoring the narrators’ storytelling with dramatic and richly diatonic musical fabric... Wonder and suspense infuse Tansman’s densely atmospheric and mostly tonal epic of Adam and Eve. The narrative declamation of the Creator’s dire lines after the fall is especially true to his rhythmic design, adding weight and severity... Milhaud’s short and punchy Cain-and-Abel episode is the angriest and most startling music here. Like Tansman, he writes episodically, also calling for precise rhythmic synchronization of narrations and music and emphatic moments... [Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s] striking and melodramatic treatment of the Flood story is highly illustrative, in keeping with the best Hollywood style... Perhaps the suite’s most radiant and comforting music comes from Toch. After a somber introductory fugue, the composer does a superb job of realizing the Lord’s promise of a better future... Stravinsky finished the work with the compact, but skillfully assembled Babel movement... Performances are outstanding and nicely recorded....Naxos’s usual excellent notes... Try it — I think you’ll really like it.” — Lindsay Koob, American Record Guide (March/April 2005)

Click here to view all available releases in the Milken Archive Series at ArkivMusic.
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Works on This Recording

1.
Genesis Suite by Various
Performer:  Isaiah Sheffer (Spoken Vocals), David Margulies (Spoken Vocals), Tovah Feldshuh (Spoken Vocals),
Fritz Weaver (Spoken Vocals)
Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Ernst Senff Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944-1945 
Date of Recording: 12/2000 
Venue:  Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 55 Minutes 38 Secs. 
2.
Genesis Suite: no 1, Prelude, Op. 44 by Arnold Schoenberg
Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Ernst Senff Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; USA 
3.
Genesis Suite: no 2, Creation by Nathaniel Shilkret
Performer:  Fritz Weaver (Spoken Vocals), Tovah Feldshuh (Spoken Vocals), Barbara Feldon (Spoken Vocals),
David Margulies (Spoken Vocals), Isaiah Sheffer (Spoken Vocals)
Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Ernst Senff Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945 
4.
Genesis Suite: no 3, Adam and Eve by Alexandre Tansman
Performer:  Fritz Weaver (Spoken Vocals), Tovah Feldshuh (Spoken Vocals), Barbara Feldon (Spoken Vocals),
David Margulies (Spoken Vocals), Isaiah Sheffer (Spoken Vocals)
Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Ernst Senff Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944 
5.
Genesis Suite: no 4, Cain and Abel by Darius Milhaud
Performer:  Fritz Weaver (Spoken Vocals), Tovah Feldshuh (Spoken Vocals), Barbara Feldon (Spoken Vocals),
David Margulies (Spoken Vocals), Isaiah Sheffer (Spoken Vocals)
Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Ernst Senff Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945 
6.
Genesis Suite: no 5: The Flood "Noah's Ark" by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
Performer:  Fritz Weaver (Spoken Vocals), Tovah Feldshuh (Spoken Vocals), Barbara Feldon (Spoken Vocals),
David Margulies (Spoken Vocals), Isaiah Sheffer (Spoken Vocals)
Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Ernst Senff Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945 
7.
Genesis Suite: no 6, The Covenant "The Rainbow" by Ernst Toch
Performer:  Fritz Weaver (Spoken Vocals), Tovah Feldshuh (Spoken Vocals), Barbara Feldon (Spoken Vocals),
David Margulies (Spoken Vocals), Isaiah Sheffer (Spoken Vocals)
Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Ernst Senff Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945 
8.
Genesis Suite: no 7, Babel by Igor Stravinsky
Performer:  Fritz Weaver (Spoken Vocals), Tovah Feldshuh (Spoken Vocals), Barbara Feldon (Spoken Vocals),
David Margulies (Spoken Vocals), Isaiah Sheffer (Spoken Vocals)
Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Ernst Senff Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944; USA 

Sound Samples

Genesis Suite: I. Prelude
Genesis Suite: II. Creation (recon. P. Russ)
Genesis Suite: III. Adam and Eve (recon. P. Russ)
Genesis Suite: IV. Cain and Abel
Genesis Suite: V. The Flood
Genesis Suite: VI. The Covenant (The Rainbow) (recon. P. Russ)
Genesis Suite: VII. Babel

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