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HANSON, H.: Symphonies (Complete), Vol. 1 - Symphony No. 1 / The Lament for Beowulf (Seattle Symphony Chorale and Orchestra, Schwarz)

Composer(s):Hanson, Howard
Artist(s) Seattle Symphony Chorale, Choir • Schwarz, Gerard, Conductor • Seattle Symphony Orchestra
Period(s) 20th Century
Genre Classical Music
Category Choral - SecularOrchestral
Catalogue 8.559700
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps

Howard Hanson, a composer of imagination and sweep and a colorist of huge eloquence, is one of the most approachable of all twentieth century symphonists. His guiding spirit was always Sibelius, and in the Symphony No. 1 ‘Nordic’ he used the same key as in the Finnish composer’s own First Symphony. The work is haunting, rapturous and serene, beautifully orchestrated and wholly commanding. The Lament for Beowulf, written for chorus and orchestra, dates from 1925. Its dark, brooding tension reflects its poetic inspiration with indelible force. “This is confident, generous, beautifully made music, richly (and sensitively) scored. Schwarz, and his splendid Seattle orchestra do not short-change us on any of this and they are



Review By Dan Morgan ,MusicWeb International,March 2012

Both the playing and recording are beyond reproach, the climactic moments growing majestically in this warm, sympathetic acoustic….Schwarz’s expansive reading allowing the music to breathe most naturally. The level of invention is never in doubt, and there’s not a redundant bar in sight. And what a radiant close; goodness, what open-hearted music this is, and how affectionately played.


Review By Gary Lemco,Audiophile Audition,December 2011

Schwarz elicits some mighty resonance from his Seattle players…fusing Hanson’s natural lyricism with its occasional, dark turbulence.

Recollections of  Beowulf’s prowess find the music in full sympathy, heraldic, heroic, emblazoned. The Seattle Chorale sopranos, particularly, convey the (modal) sense of loss with a special mystical fervor. Intimate, elegiac, and portentous at once, the score as recorded by Schwarz and his Seattle forces makes a lasting and potent impression. © 2011 Audiophile Audition Read complete review

Review By,October 2011

Howard Hanson’s music is quite approachable to anyone who enjoys Sibelius, a lifelong influence for Hanson (1896–1981). “Nordic,”… is a…serene and stately work and less distinctly Germanic than that of Sibelius…The Lament for Beowulf (1925)…is a dark and poetic piece, and it is well sung and well played by the Seattle Symphony and Chorale under Gerard Schwarz. The sound stands up well, and the inclusion of Beowulf texts in the booklet is welcome…

Review By John J. Puccio,Classical Candor,October 2011

…Hanson sets the music to orchestra and chorus…Hanson’s own, is aptly elegiac, solemn, harsh, grave, and grim, while still being epic in scope.

The sound is smooth and wide—wide in stereo spread, dynamic range, and frequency response. Midrange clarity is fine…A good sense of orchestral depth and a touch of ambient bloom complete a reasonably realistic acoustic picture.


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