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 Raúl Mallavibarrena,Ritmo,March 2012
Howard Hanson es una figura primordial de cualquier manual de historia de la música en Estados Unidos. Nacido en Nebraska en 1896 y con herencia escandinava, es eminentemente conservador en su armonía y concepción del hecho sonoro, es decir, que se dedicará a componer hasta su muerte en 1981 obras de herencia formal decimonónica como sinfonías y óperas—es especialmente bella la titulada Merry Mount—Su formación en Italia bajo la supervisión de Respighi durante dos años le dejará una maestría en la orquestación inconfundible. Justamente de esta época, 1921 a 1923, data su primera sinfonía, que denota otra de sus grandes influencias, la de Sibelius. En tres
Review By Byzantion,MusicWeb International,January 2012
Well performed by all involved…. Sound quality for both works is pretty good… © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review
Review By Ken Smith ,Gramophone,January 2012
Schwarz’s readings are ultimately more mercurial, by turns breezily lyrical and sombrely brooding, evoking a certain American optimism beneath the music’s Romantic veneer. © 2012 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone
Review By Lawrence Hansen,American Record Guide,January 2012
Wow! This is a welcome release.
The recorded sound…is still spectacular—solid, firm, and, like the music, expansive, but not diffuse and with plenty of ambiance from the Seattle Opera House. Schwarz keeps a firm hand on the proceedings, yet lets the music unfold at a natural pace, pushing ahead when it needs to move along, yet stopping to savor expressive, lyrical moments.
The Seattle Symphony Chorale sings with fervor and diction…the vocal contributions are almost perfectly attuned to the music—and so is the orchestral contribution. © 2012 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide online
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 James Manheim,Allmusic.com,November 2011
The Symphony No. 1 in E minor, Op. 22 (“Nordic”), was the work that made Hanson’s reputation when he premiered it in 1922. It shares a key and a good number of ideas with Sibelius’ first symphony, with a craggy, brooding opening movement and a broad finale enclosing a melodious slow movement that feels like nothing more than an interlude. The first movement has a complexity of structure that takes it beyond mere imitation of Sibelius, and Schwarz keeps impressive control of the trajectory at all times. Hanson’s themes in the finale are not quite as stirring as those of their model, and the choral Lament of Beowulf that closes at the album is pretty ponderous, but the Symphony No. 1 is a bona fide neglected American masterwork, a good find for
Review By Jeff Dunn,San Francisco Classical Voice,October 2011
Naxos’ re-release of Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony’s Hanson symphonies under the American Classics series is a welcome event.
the music is satisfying and enjoyable in a late-19th-century manner…
The highlight of the music is the very interesting, if almost kitchen-sinky, third-movement finale. It begins as an expected scherzo, but suddenly morphs into a dramatic funeral march (listen to the excerpt) before returning to the fast material and a parade of the major themes of the previous two movements.
The performance quality of Schwarz and his band are excellent, and the sonics are terrific…
Review By Infodad.com,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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