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SCHUMAN, W.: Symphonies Nos. 3 and 5 / Judith (Seattle Symphony, Schwarz)

Composer(s):Schuman, William
Artist(s) Schwarz, Gerard, Conductor • Seattle Symphony Orchestra
Period(s) 20th Century
Genre Classical Music
Category BalletOrchestral
Catalogue 8.559317
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
Album Price
USD 6.99


William Schuman juggled many careers in his full and productive life: teacher, administrator, conductor and composer of ten symphonies as well as a significant representation of music in many genres. His two-movement Symphony No. 3, dating from 1941, derives its organization from Baroque era models. Known as Symphony No. 5, though published without a number, the Symphony for Strings is remarkable for its contrapuntal mastery and irresistible rhythmic élan. Judith (1949) was based on the ancient Hebrew tale of the Jewish widow who saved her people by seducing and beheading the despotic general Holofernes. The syncopated score conveys the anxiety and determination of Judith’s heroism.


Review By David Patrick Stearns,The Philadelphia Inquirer,January 2007

Just because William Schuman ran the Juilliard School for years doesn’t mean he was an academic composer. Though he was of the Aaron Copland generation of composers—their harmonies have a family resemblance and both knew how to use the orchestra with big, bony strokes—Schuman was more abstract and far less prone toward the Americana atmosphere of Copland.

It’s not the most alluring music on first listen, but is extremely generous in repeated visits, thanks to Schuman’s ability to draw such dramatic and wide-ranging effects from traditional forms. Composers often save their most compelling moments for particular instruments, and Schuman comes into his glory with the lower brass.



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