ROY HARRIS: Symphony No. 11 (1967); MORTON GOULD: Cowboy Rhapsody; CECIL EFFINGER: Little Symphony No. 1 Op. 31; DOUGLAS MOORE: Symphony No. 2 in A Major – Sinfonia Varsovia/Ian Hobson – Albany

by | Dec 26, 2008 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

ROY HARRIS: Symphony No. 11 (1967); MORTON GOULD: Cowboy Rhapsody; CECIL EFFINGER: Little Symphony No. 1 Op. 31; DOUGLAS MOORE: Symphony No. 2 in A Major – Sinfonia Varsovia/Ian Hobson – Albany multichannel SACD  TROY1042, 68:46 ****:

If this collection of works seems familiar to you, it is probably because it is a reissue of an earlier Albany stereo CD, rechanneled for multichannel SACD using the Zarex HD process. I don’t find the process quite as successful as Opus 3’s rechanneling for 4.0 SACD release, but it is nice to have these very accessible works in hi-res format.  I find I always need to raise the surround channels a few dB to get a good surround field with these pseudo-surround efforts.

The collection honors American composers – two from east of the Mississippi and two from west. However, most of us will probably be unfamiliar with these particular compositions. All are tonal, accessible, and enjoyable. The short opening Gould work would fit beautifully on any pops concert program. It’s a paean to cowpunchers and full of cowboy songs.  The music of Roy Harris was central to American composition in the middle of the last century.  His open interval music created as much of an American Sound as did Copland’s.  His emotional 11th Symphony has an autobiographical slant not found in his final 12th and 13th symphonies. It consists of a single 22-minute movement and its two distinct parts delineate a man’s climb upward again after falling, along with his countrymen, into a “vale of doubt.”  

The Effinger and Moore symphonies both come from the pivotal year of 1945.  Moore was heavily into traditional tonality and dedicated his symphony to Stephen Vincent Benét, who wrote the libretto for his first opera, The Devil and Daniel Webster.  The symphony’s four movements are, according to the composer, “in clear, objective, modified classical style…”  The second movement was suggested by a James Joyce poem about music heard at the coming of twilight.

 – John Sunier 

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