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Monday, October 2, 2017

Randall Thompson, Symphony No. 2, Samuel Adams, Samuel Barber, National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic, James Ross

Classical-modern American Symphonies both older and new are the fare on the release by James Ross and the National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic. In the slot of primary billing is Randall Thompson Symphony No. 2 (1931) (Naxos 8.559822). Included in the volume are also Samuel Barber's "Symphony No. 1, Op. 9" (1936) and Samuel Adams' "Drift and Providence" (2012) .

It is a bit of Americana without going out of its way to be so, quasi-Nationalism without any overt gestures thematically. Thompson's Second has syncopation that is not quite jazz (of 1931) but has something of the lively rhythmic bustle of the age and place.

Samuel Barber's First has American pathos and breadth.

Samuel Adams and his "Drift and Providence" updates the quilted earthiness of American symphonic form for today yet does not insist on overt modernity.

We get a generous sampling of the symphonic form beyond the overtly romantic. All is well played by the National Orchestral Institute under Ross.

It is not music that will change your life, exactly. Nonetheless there is much pleasure to be gained in the hearing. Recommended.

1 comment:

  1. Thompson's Symphony #2 is a favorite of mine. This is a good performance. The composer has a sense of humor. I hear quotes from "Hello, My Baby" in the first movement and "Buffalo Gals Won't You Come Out Tonight" in the second movement. The second movement could be a nostalgic pop tune from the 30's. The last movement was used in patriotic radio documentary programs I heard in the 40s. I imagine an announcer telling is that "Freedom isn't free. It's our job to nourish it!"