Review By Record Geijutsu,February 2011
Review By Juan Berberana,Ritmo,December 2010
Algunos se preguntarán el porqué de la apuesta tan rotunda que Naxos está haciendo por la música del americano Alan Hovhaness (1911-2000), con la publicación de nada menos que 5 discos (con éste, si las cuentas no me fallan). Pues la verdad es que yo también quisiera saberlo… En fin, yendo a estas tres sinfonías (el tema puede dar mucho de sí, ya que creo superó las 70), lo más destacable es el formato, solo instrumentos de viento, y el componente paisajístico de las dos primeras. La Sinfonía num. 7 toma como inspiración (y de hecho trata de trasladar al pentagrama las sensaciones resultantes de su contemplación) la montaña del Himalaya Nanga Parvat. La
Review By Raymond Tuttle ,Fanfare,November 2010
This CD, recorded on January 30 and 31, 2008, is dedicated to the memory of Lady Evelyn Barbirolli, Honorary Fellow of the Trinity College of Music, who died a few days earlier. One might well ask what, if anything, is the connection between Barbirolli and Hovhaness. It turns out that her husband, John Barbirolli, conducted the premiere in 1966 of Hovhaness’s Ode to the Temple of Sound.
Review By Icon,October 2010
While he doesn’t get enough credit, Alan Hovhaness (1911–2000) was a major forerunner of combining the Western classical tradition with folk strains from Europe (especially Armenia) and Asia. Perhaps that’s because when the classical world was getting all “modern” (read: atonal, difficult, “noisy”) in the '50s, Hovhaness insisted on composing music a reasonably intelligent Joe Bagodoughnuts might find “pretty.” The symphonies here, while portions are indeed very pretty, also convey the natural severity of earthquakes and avalanches (specifically of the Kashmiri mountains) and the not-so-natural destruction of Ani, an Armenian city. These three symphonies are an audio equivalent of an IMAX nature documentary—awe
Review By Barry Kilpatrick,American Record Guide,September 2010
Most of the works of Alan Hovhaness (1911-2000) are contemplative and speak a sort of minimalist language. The brass pieces I know fit this description. So does Symphony 23, but Symphonies 7 and 14 do not.
Review By Franck Mallet,Classica,September 2010
Review By Michael Cookson,MusicWeb International,August 2010
Hovhaness’s prodigious output runs to some 500 or so published scores each often proclaiming a distinct, immediately recognisable and individual personality. The music is not inspired by organised religion in any conventional sense but is evidently guided by a profound spirituality and a deeply philosophical approach to the world. Frequently colourful and exotic the music is recurrently served by an intense sense of the spiritual beauty of nature and by sound-worlds created by large and broad-ranging orchestral forces.
Hovhaness gave many of his scores descriptive titles of a colourful and often memorable quality: Storm on Mount Wildcat; Symphony No.2 Mysterious Mountain; And God Created Great Whales; Symphony No. 22, City of and the Symphony No. 50 Mount St Helens. When requesting this Naxos disc I hadn’t noticed that the music was written for wind orchestra. This came as rather a surprise as I expected three symphonies of a similar instrumentation to that I had grown used to.
The first work on the disc the Symphony No. 7, ‘Nanga Parvat’, Op. 178 was composed in 1959 for wind orchestra with percussion and harp. The title Nanga Parvat, meaning ‘Naked Mountain’, is the name of the ninth highest mountain in the world. A dangerous and gigantic Himalayan peak Nanga Parvat is sometimes known as ‘Killer Mountain’.
Composed in 1960 the Symphony No. 14, ‘Ararat’, Op. 194 (1960) is scored for wind and percussion. The score is titled after the volcanic Mount Ararat in Turkey. According to the Book of Genesis in the Bible after the flood Noah’s Ark came to rest in the Ararat range. The disc closes with the Symphony No. 23, ‘Ani’, Op. 249 from 1972 calls for large wind orchestra and percussion. Situated in Turkey ‘Ani’ is the name of a once great and now ruined medieval Armenian city.
Keith Brion, the conductor of this release, has been involved in recording an acclaimed series of wind band music for John Philip Sousa for Naxos. It seems that Brion first made the acquaintance of Hovhaness back in 1964 and has made recordings with Hovhaness present. Based at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich the Trinity College of Music Wind Orchestra under Brion prove themselves marvellously suited to this remarkable music. These are strong and dedicated performances that feel fresh and engaging with much lovely playing.
This music for wind with percussion accompaniment may be an acquired taste for some. I certainly miss the additional colour provided by Hovhaness’s distinctive and often glorious string sounds. A splendidly performed disc that I suggest will appeal mainly to the more adventurous listener.
Review By Jonathan Woolf,MusicWeb International,July 2010
An hour’s worth of Hovhaness in ‘wind band plus percussion symphonic garb’ is the raison d’être of this Naxos release. It bears all his most obvious hallmarks, sometimes starkly: vistas, intense tattoos, hieratic brass, convulsive dialogues, chimes, noble perorations, edifices of almost Mayan splendour.
Review By John von Rhein ,ClassicalCDReview.com,June 2010
…this new Naxos disc represents the fourth CD devoted to the composer’s wind symphonies led by the American conductor Keith Brion, as well as the second of two Brion-directed Naxos discs made with British wind bands.
Review By Gapplegate Music Review,June 2010
…Keith Brion conducts the Trinity College of Music Wind Orchestra in a fine recording of three early to mid-period symphonies of the late American composer, Symphonies Nos. 7, 14 and 23 (Naxos 8.559385). All three works have not to my knowledge been recorded repeatedly, but are not in any sense lesser works for all that.
Hovhaness writes beautifully for brass, and one finds plenty of characteristic passages in these symphonies. There are searching, mysterious moments, moments of grandeur, and long expressive chorales (note especially the first and following movements of Symphony 23).
All three works are good examples of the Hovhaness style and since they cover a span of time from 1959–1972, give the listener a handle on its development.
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