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  • Abraham Lincoln: Likeness in Symphony
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Abraham Lincoln: Likeness in Symphony


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Audio CD, July 20, 1999
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Symphony, "Abraham Lincoln": I His Simplicity and His Sadness (Moderato con moto) 8:22$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Symphony, "Abraham Lincoln": II His Affection and His Faith (Andantino) 5:28$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Symphony, "Abraham Lincoln": III His Humor and His Weakness (Allegro animato) 5:28$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Symphony, "Abraham Lincoln": IV His Greatness and His Sacrifice (Moderato maestoso)10:17$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Sights and Sounds: I Union Station (Vigoroso) 3:45$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Sights and Sounds: II Highbrows (Andante tranquillo) 2:54$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Sights and Sounds: III Lowbrows (Allegro) 5:17$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Sights and Sounds: IV Electric Signs (Ben moderato) 3:21$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Sights and Sounds: V Night Club (Fox Trot) 1:58$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen10. Sights and Sounds: VI Skykscraper (Adagio religioso) 1:36$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen11. Sights and Sounds: VII Speed (Presto) 4:55$0.89  Buy MP3 


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Abraham Lincoln: Likeness in Symphony + Fry: Santa Claus Symphony / Royal Scottish National Orchestra
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 20, 1999)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos American Classics
  • ASIN: B00000JMYI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #515,185 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gene DeSantis on January 14, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Ah, the paradox of Robert Russell Bennett: he made great art, but not the great art he wanted to make. He wrote "nearly 200 original works -- symphonies, operas, chamber music, choral and vocal music, and more than two dozen pieces for wind band," practically all groaning under a heavy accumulation of dust in libraries and archives. Meantime he orchestrated over 300 musicals, and while many of them languish forgotten or lost some do not, certainly not "Show Boat"; Bennett's majestic Overture set the tone for a masterpiece and the standard for Broadway overtures until Leonard Bernstein's "Candide" came along. His outstanding arrangements brim with inspiration and taste. So Bennett did all this "hack work" (he thought), but we're lucky he did -- and so is he, otherwise he might not merit a paragraph in "Grove's."

Bennett (George J. Ferencz' booklet notes tell us) wrote these two works in 1929 for a contest sponsored by Victor Talking Machine, and they both won cash awards and first-recording rights, which tellingly neither Victor nor its successor RCA ever exercised. The Lincoln work appears not to have been publicly performed since two outings with Stokowski and the Philadelphia in late 1931 (we must infer this as Naxos got the score and parts out of the city's Free Library). Perhaps it's unfair to contrast it to the Lincoln Portrait of 1942, but one must: if Copland too easily resorts to bombast and folk tunes, there is no denying it a stirring tribute to a great man. Without the program you can't tell what the Likeness is about.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David Saemann VINE VOICE on January 9, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Thinking of Bennett as a Broadway show orchestrator, I was unprepared for how good this CD is. The Abraham Lincoln symphony succeeds handsomely, even without reference to its programmatic content. It is well made, interestingly scored, and builds to a handsome conclusion. Sights and Sounds is more forward looking. I sense the influence of Gershwin in the angularity of the music, without any of George's great big tunes. Instead, Bennett gives us a highly textured look at city scenes, vividly recreating the cultural panorama of his times. It's a shame all this music was overlooked for so long. William T. Stromberg is an excellent conductor (His Grand Canyon Suite is comparable to Bernstein's, Ormandy's, and Fiedler's.). The sound quality of the CD is quite good, and there is nothing to hinder you from enjoying some innovative music making.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By minacciosa on September 5, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Everybody knows Robert Russell Bennett, right? Broadway, movie arrangements, a few original works, a violin concerto, etc. So thought I until I heard Sights and Sounds. It's a work of extraordinarily high quality and inventiveness. I first heard it cold, coming into a radio broadcast just seconds after it began. I had no idea what was being played but it was riveting. My surprise was complete when its composer was announced. I've since heard it again and my initial impressions were confirmed. Sights and Sounds is a fantastic achievement, and based upon that assessment, I'd say it's incumbent upon us to examine in detail Bennett's large legacy of original compositions. He was no journeyman, but a true creator, a real composer.

I have not heard the Lincoln symphony yet.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Robert Russell Bennett's main success was probably as an orchestrator for Broadway, but he was certainly a composer in his own right as these two related works from 1929 show. Not a great composer, perhaps, but there is stil much to take notice of here. The Lincoln symphony is an unpretentious and attractive character study, very well written and scored but with little or no reminiscences of Broadway - `restraint' seems to be the cue word, together with thematic clarity and ability to develop extended musical arguments. Sights and Sounds is far more extrovert; urban, celebratory, dazzling at times and perhaps just a little banal - but a quite enjoyable depiction of city life with touches of, perhaps, Gershwin.

But how good are these works? I certainly enjoyed them, but there wasn't much here that stuck in my mind. The performances, on the other hand, are very good; lively and well-rounded with a clear sense of purpose. Sound quality isn't top notch, but not a problem either. At the asking price I think these works can be very much recommended but don't expect anything that will change your life.
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By Tassinong on September 9, 2013
Format: MP3 Music
Why is it that couplings like this have to be farmed out to foreign orchestras--and not first-line ones--under obscure conductors? Ignoring homegrown music, classical or otherwise, has been a tradition in the United States ever since Lowell Mason tried to purge William Billings from our hymnbooks. (Even Elvis had to go to Germany, like to many American composers and music makers before him, before he was taken seriously at home.) There is no excuse for the absence of both of these works from the catalogs for so long, on several counts. First, it's Robert Russell Bennett, who produced at least as many original symphonic works as he did Broadway orchestrations--and a handful of those alone would make this album of interest. Second, the coupling represents a notable event in music history, the misguided attempt by RCA to commission a scherzo and final movement to finish Schubert's "Unfinished" Symphony. When composers raised an outcry, the contest was changed to a $25,000 prize for the best symphonic work, and the committee ended up awarding five $5,000 prizes, two of them to Bennett for these works. (The only other winner that has been available is Copland's "Grogh.") For my money, both of Bennett's works are more interesting than almost anything that Copland wrote in the 1920s. Which brings me to Three: These are important examples of what American composers were producing in the 1920s following the pioneering work by Milhaud, Gershwin, William Grant Still, and others. Finally, the Abraham Lincoln "Symphonic Likeness" is one of a large number of serious orchestral works inspired by America's Civil War president, one too large to be ignored. For all of these reasons, the performances (which are quite good) are practically irrelevant. Pay no attention to the modern-day Lowell Masons! If you are telling people that you have a library of American classical music without having this one, you are selling your country very, very short.
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