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American Classics - Michael Hersch: Symphonies 1 & 2, Etc


Release Date: 11/21/2006 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8559281   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Michael Hersch
Conductor:  Marin Alsop
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 4 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

These performances confirm Michael Hersch as one of the most seriously engaging musical voices in the U.S. today. The Second Symphony marries a volcanic New World energy to a deeply skeptical, often angst-ridden spiritual climate. Alsop and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra are brilliant advocates. -- The Financial Times, UK

"For many young composers, early works tend to project a youthful sense of innocence and discovery. Composer Michael Hersch, however, seems to have entered adulthood painfully aware of the darker ways of the world - heard in this first disc of his orchestral works in no uncertain terms. Though frequently characterized as a descendant of Mahler and Berg, Hersch's music is more aptly compared to the
Read more sinister sound collages of Alfred Schnittke. But even with the distinctly American vigor of imagination Hersch stands pretty much alone in this country in terms of his confrontational musical idiom. That might have been a minus to some 1990s audiences, but now seems to define our time. His dissonances were always fascinating; now they're oddly comforting. The Symphony No. 2 and Arraché in particular stand up well among Hersch's recent work, especially in these compelling, comprehending performances. In fact, this may be conductor Marin Alsop's best recording yet." -- The Philadelphia Inquirer

"(Hersch) has made several recordings as a pianist, and a solo disc devoted to his keyboard and chamber music came out of Germany. Now, Naxos gives us a full-scale introduction to his orchestral music, and it's impressive. In contrast to the minimalism that has occupied so much of the classical landscape during the last 30 years, and in contrast to neo-romantics, Mr. Hersch comes off as an unapologetic modernist. His pieces don't really sound much like the Second Viennese School (Berg, Schoenberg), but they're not afraid of dissonance. They're not really reminiscent of the big American symphonies of the middle 20th century, either. They feel less nationalist than William Schuman's, less esoteric than Roger Sessions'. But they share those composers' sense of scale and drama. The younger composer loves big gestures played off against solo laments. He favors the orchestra's lowest voices: tuba, cello and double bass, big bass drum. Notice the chimes that ring in the Symphony No.1. They immediately announce that something epic is happening. ... this music rewards repeated listening. The performances by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under Marin Alsop are all you could wish for." -- The Dallas Morning News
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Works on This Recording

1. Symphony no 2 by Michael Hersch
Conductor:  Marin Alsop
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2001; USA 
Venue:  The Concert Hall, Lighthouse, Poole, UK 
Length: 19 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Notes: The Concert Hall, Lighthouse, Poole, UK (06/06/2005 - 06/07/2005) 
2. Fracta by Michael Hersch
Conductor:  Marin Alsop
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2002; USA 
Venue:  The Concert Hall, Lighthouse, Poole, UK 
Length: 11 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Notes: The Concert Hall, Lighthouse, Poole, UK (06/06/2005 - 06/07/2005) 
3. Symphony no 1 by Michael Hersch
Conductor:  Marin Alsop
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1998; USA 
Venue:  The Concert Hall, Lighthouse, Poole, UK 
Length: 27 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Notes: The Concert Hall, Lighthouse, Poole, UK (06/06/2005 - 06/07/2005) 
4. Arraché by Michael Hersch
Conductor:  Marin Alsop
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2004; USA 
Venue:  The Concert Hall, Lighthouse, Poole, UK 
Length: 27 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Notes: The Concert Hall, Lighthouse, Poole, UK (06/06/2005 - 06/07/2005) 

Sound Samples

Symphony No. 2: I. Prestissimo
Symphony No. 2: II. Adagio
Symphony No. 2: III. Largo
Symphony No. 2: IV. Moderato
Fracta
Symphony No. 1
Arrache

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 I Hate Contemporary Classical Music March 22, 2014 By F. Blanco (Miami, FL) See All My Reviews "I tend to shy away from contemporary, 20th and 21st Century music. The dissonant "sounds-of-agony-rage-and-desperation" are usually not my thing. However, this recording grabbed me from the very first opening chords of the Second Symphony and did not let go until the closing of Arrache. Every single one of these pieces is worth listening to and worth digesting and pondering. There is a wide range of sounds and emotions, mostly dark, but there is such conviction in the writing and playing that you can't help but listen. These are edge-of-your-seat performances, but there's serenity too. The playing and sound are reference quality. Naxos, once again delivers the goods at a price most "connoisseurs" would consider too cheap to play on their high-end audio systems. Too bad for them. As for me, I'll be enjoying this disc for some time." Report Abuse
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