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Hanson: Symphonies No 6 & 7 / Schwarz, Seattle Symphony


Release Date: 01/31/2012 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8559704  
Composer:  Howard Hanson
Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seattle Symphony OrchestraSeattle Symphony Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

For anyone new to Hanson’s works this CD is a brilliant introduction to a really inspirational composer.

This is the fifth volume in Gerard Schwarz’s fervent traversal of the seven Hanson symphonies for Delos. The three pieces are drawn from DE 3160, 3092 and 3130. As with the earlier volumes Schwarz brooks no dilution of the music. Nothing is routine or careless.

The old passionate munitions and the aggressive air-burst energy is still there in the six-movement Sixth Symphony. Hanson was writing way against the prevailing current of the times – it was 1968 – but the fuel still ignites! This work initially took a while to take a hold on me but now its swaying Nordic romance will not let go. The music has
Read more exuberance, chattering Sibelian zest, an epic stride and the benefit of a resplendent recording. It was dedicated to Leonard Bernstein and the NYPO. Schwarz takes things at a faster lick than Siegfried Landau and the Music for Westchester Symphony Orchestra version from the early 1970s. Landau was first issued on Turnabout LP TV-S34534, revived on CD on Excelsior and also as part of a VoxBox CDX5092.

Lumen in Christo growls with awe. Somewhere in there we are told that there is material by Handel and Haydn. It is deeply subsumed. The choir sings texts with light as their subject from the Latin Requiem and from The Bible. The music has a symphonic mien so do not expect much in the way of relaxation after the rippling power of the Sixth Symphony.

The Seventh also uses the Seattle Symphony Chorale. It’s a setting for choirs and orchestra of texts by Walt Whitman. Hanson – then within four years of his death - sticks to his last. The style essays no change. Indeed he even incorporates that long-breathed treasure of a melody – the grand theme from The Second Symphony. He first set Whitman’s verse in 1915 and latterly in Drumtaps (1935), Song of Democracy (1957) and The Mystic Trumpeter (1970; rec. Delos DE3160). This is not the work’s first recording. That honour rests with the World Youth Symphony Orchestra Interlochen and the National Music Camp High School Choir who recorded it in August 1977 on Bay Cities BCD 1009. Atmospheric though that original is it cannot hope to compete with Schwarz’s fully professional version.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed for a final Schwarz Naxos disc including the Piano Concerto and The Mystic Trumpeter. In due course I would guess that Naxos will also issue a boxed set as they did for Barber and Schuman.

– Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 7 "A Sea Symphony" by Howard Hanson
Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seattle Symphony Orchestra,  Seattle Symphony Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1977; USA 
Date of Recording: 05/1992 
Venue:  Seattle Opera House, Seattle, Washington 
Length: 18 Minutes 8 Secs. 
2.
Symphony no 6 by Howard Hanson
Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seattle Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1968; USA 
Date of Recording: 10/1989 
Venue:  Seattle Opera House, Seattle, Washington 
Length: 20 Minutes 38 Secs. 
3.
Lumen in Christo by Howard Hanson
Conductor:  Gerard Schwarz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Seattle Symphony Orchestra,  Seattle Symphony Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1974; USA 
Date of Recording: 06/1994 
Venue:  Seattle Opera House, Seattle, Washington 
Length: 21 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Language: English 

Sound Samples

Symphony No. 6: I. Andante
Symphony No. 6: II. Allegro scherzando
Symphony No. 6: III. Adagio
Symphony No. 6: IV. Allegro assai
Symphony No. 6: V. Adagio
Symphony No. 6: VI. Allegro
Lumen in Christo: I. Largo
Lumen in Christo: II. Andante
Symphony No. 7, "The Sea": I. Lo, the unbounded sea
Symphony No. 7, "The Sea": II. The untold want
Symphony No. 7, "The Sea": III. Joy, shipmate, joy!

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 A great piece September 10, 2012 By Christian  B. (Price, UT) See All My Reviews "No one can listen to Hansen's 7th and not find it evocative of not just the sea, but a vast, never ending ocean. I love the pairing of the music with Whitman's poem. I think Hanson is trying to give us a glimpse of the eternal, a sea that is otherworldly and unknowable. I find it compelling, and I revisit this piece often.

"
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