DEEMS TAYLOR: Through the Looking Glass; C. T. GRIFFES: Poem for Flute and Orch.; The White Peacock; The Pleasure Dome of Kubla Khan; Three Tone Pictures; Bachhanale – Scott Goff, flute/ Seattle Symphony, Gerard Schwarz – Delos/Naxos American Classics 8.559724, 71:44 *****:
The opulent and sensual expressiveness in these composers’ works has long been obscured by more turbulent developments in music of the 20th century. I personally think Griffes is one of the finest though ignored American composers ever. One of Deems Taylor’s most successful compositions, Through the Looking Glass celebrates Alice in Wonderland, each of its five sections corresponding to passages or episodes from this enchanting tale. Influenced by both the German Romantics and French Impressionists, Charles Tomlinson Griffes’ especially rich impressionistic harmonic palette and orchestral colors can be heard in the Poem written for flutist Georges Barrère, the landscapes of the Three Tone Pictures and poetry of The White Peacock, while Kubla Khan and the Bacchanale share innovative exotic oriental inspiration. The original Delos recordings were made in the Seattle Opera House in 1990.
This bargain CD enables listener to access some of the finest impressionisticAmerican orchestral works ever composed, which deserve a much better place in American music history and appreciation.
Through the Looking Glass, Op. 12
No. 1. Dedication 00:05:09
2. No. 2. The Garden of Live Flowers 00:04:02
3. No. 3. Jabberwocky 00:09:44
4. No. 4. Looking – Glass Insects 00:02:54
5. No. 5. The White Night 00:09:35
Griffes, Charles Tomlinson: Poem for Flute & Orchestra 6. 10:38
7. The White Peacock 00:06:10
8. The Pleasure Dome of Kubla Khan, Op. 8 (version for orch.)
Three Tone Pictures (1912/19):
No. 1. The Lake at Evening 3:4510.
No. 2. The Vale of Dreams 2:5011.
No. 3. The Night Winds 01:31
12. Bacchanale 04:20
DUKE ELLINGTON: Black, Brown and Beige; Harlem; Three Black Kings; The River, Take the “A” Train – Buffalo Philharmonic Orch./ JoAnn Falletta – Naxos American Classics 8.559737, 78:30 *****:
Edward Kennedy ‘Duke’ Ellington wrote some of the twentieth century’s greatest Big Band music, but he also wrote in a variety of forms. The boisterous and evocative Harlem pays tribute to Ellington’s roots, Black, Brown, and Beige sets work songs and spirituals, whilst the suite from The River shows his genius in writing for the stage. Three Black Kings, scored as a ballet, was left unfinished at his death, but shows no lessening of invention. Ellington’s arrangement of Billy Strayhorn’s Take the ‘A’ Train became famous around the world after the outbreak of World War II, and ranks among the most widely recorded standards of all time. These recordings, just made last May in Buffalo, bring across Ellington’s music so well that one can agree with those critics who classify Ellington as one of America’s greatest composers ever.
Peress, Maurice, arranger(s)
1. Harlem (arr. M. Peress for orchestra) 00:14:27
Black, Brown and Beige (arr. M. Peress for orchestra) =
2. Black 00:08:25
3. Brown 00:05:26
4. Beige 00:04:38
Ellington, Mercer, arranger(s) Three Black Kings (completed by M. Ellington) No. 1. King of the Magi 00:04:46.
No. 2. King Solomon 00:06:27 7. No. 3. Martin Luther King 00:06:59 Ellington, Duke &
Collier, Ron, arranger(s) The River Suite (arr. R. Collier for orchestra) (excerpts)
I. The Spring 00:03:30( 9.)
II. The Meander 00:03:57 10.
III. The Giggling Rapids 00:03:0 11.
IV. The Lake 00:07:18
VI. The River 00:03:19
Ellington, Duke, arranger(s)
Take the A Train (arr. D. Ellington for orchestra) 00:06:19