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Antheil: Symphony No 3 "American", Hot Time, Overtures / Wolff, Frankfurt Radio Symphony


Release Date: 11/16/2004 
Label:  Cpo   Catalog #: 777040   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  George Antheil
Conductor:  Hugh Wolff
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


So-called "bad boy" composer George Antheil had a peculiar way of absorbing every music style he encountered, and then inserting it--not always fully digested--into his own work. Thus, at any moment you're likely to encounter "raw" Shostakovich (a particularly pervasive influence on Antheil) as well as Copland. In fact, you can hear both juxtaposed in the Tom Sawyer Overture, which alternates between the Soviet composer's trademark comedic galloping and Copland's Cowboy sauntering (à la Billy the Kid). This frenzied trotting is a persistent feature in Antheil's work, constituting the bulk of the McKonkey's Ferry Overture, the Hot Time Dance, and the opening movement of
Read more Capitol of the World suite (though here it's fit into triple meter). The following Meditation movement forms one of the few moments of relative calm on this frenetic program, which ends with the jazzily barbaric Knife Fight.


Antheil set an ambitious goal with his "American" Symphony, setting out to portray in music "the America of the future, bold, fearless, new, and coming from the very breadth of the new continent." Indeed the music is forward looking in the composer's use of modern (for 1939) harmony and complex jazz-derived rhythms, and in his signature brash and "un-polite" orchestration. Unlike the aforementioned works with their nods to Copland, here there's precious little use of American thematic archetypes; rather Antheil attempts--and largely manages, all on his own--to capture the spirit of a vibrant nation.


Conductor Hugh Wolff is thoroughly steeped in the composer's sound-world, and he leads the Frankfurt Radio Symphony in highly idiomatic, virtuoso performances (the brass and winds are magnificent) that make a strong case for including Antheil in the American symphonic pantheon alongside the likes of Ives, Piston, Harris, and Schuman. CPO's spacious recording presents the music with persuasive impact. An intriguing disc, indispensable for collectors of American music. [2/5/2005]
--Victor Carr Jr, ClassicsToday.com

"This program concludes with some of the most supple and well-proportioned pages Antheil ever wrote—a three-movement suite from the 1952 ballet Capital of the World. Because the Hemingway-derived scenario is set in Madrid, Antheil created an abstract but still very sensuous distillation of a Spanish idiom without any hint of Hispanic clichés. The first two movements are dominated by one of the most unforgettably subtle and lyrical themes Antheil ever came up with. Virgil Thomson was certainly on the mark when he described the music as “original, striking and powerful”; it can certainly hold its own with the great ballet scores of Copland, Schuman, and Barber."

--Paul A. Snook, Fanfare
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Works on This Recording

1.
McKonkey's Ferry Overture by George Antheil
Conductor:  Hugh Wolff
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1948; USA 
2.
Capital of the World by George Antheil
Conductor:  Hugh Wolff
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1953; USA 
3.
Symphony no 3 "American" by George Antheil
Conductor:  Hugh Wolff
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Notes: Composition written: USA (1936 - 1939).
Composition revised: 1946. 
4.
Tom Sawyer Overture by George Antheil
Conductor:  Hugh Wolff
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949; USA 
5.
Hot-Time Dance by George Antheil
Conductor:  Hugh Wolff
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1948; USA 

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