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  • Henry Brant Collection 7: Concord Symphoney
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Henry Brant Collection 7: Concord Symphoney

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Audio CD, November 27, 2007
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1. A Concord Symphony, for orchestra (after Charles Ives' Concord Sonata): Emerson
2. A Concord Symphony, for orchestra (after Charles Ives' Concord Sonata): Hawthorne
3. A Concord Symphony, for orchestra (after Charles Ives' Concord Sonata): The Alcotts
4. A Concord Symphony, for orchestra (after Charles Ives' Concord Sonata): Thoreau
5. Lang zal hÿ Leven (Long May He Live)

Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 27, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Innova
  • ASIN: B000WCN8OQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #391,090 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By M. Cleveland on November 29, 2007
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
Henry Brant's 30-year labor of love creating this orchestral treatment of Charles Ives' masterwork for piano is a terrific synthesis of the distinctive voices of two great American composers. The orchestration is pure Brant with lots of emphasis on brass and winds. Far clearer in its lines and intent than Ive's own orchestral palette. Some may prefer the denser, murkier textures Ives created in the piano sonata and there are times when the orchestration creates a very different atmosphere than parallel passages in the original; however, this is not a "correction" of Ives. The Concord Symphony is, for me, a loving creation in its own right that stands on its own while remaining faithful to the original. Fantastic variety that matches Ives' creative scope. The "Housatonic" section in its Brant-provided livery is pure, Hollywood Americana in the best sense. The playing by the Davies-led Amsterdam band is virtuoso, concerto for orchestra stuff. Thrilling and sensitive. Highly recommended, maybe particularly for those who've never quite warmed to the piano sonata.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 22, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
There are, I'm sure, purists who will balk at the very notion of an orchestration of Charles Ives's piano masterwork, the Concord Sonata. But they really ought to give this version, a 30-year-long true labor of love by Henry Brant, a hearing in its brilliant orchestral garb. I am very familiar with the Concord Sonata, having worked on it myself at the keyboard, and yet I hear things in the orchestral version that I hadn't heard before. Partly it's a matter of instrumental timbre allowing aural delineation not possible even in the best piano performances, and partly it is because Brant has chosen to emphasize things that are (at least by me) barely noticed. And hearing a familiar work in new ways is one way to keep that work alive; think, for instance, how we began to hear baroque works differently when the historically-informed-performance crowd started performing and recording things as familiar at the Bach's B Minor Mass or Handel's Messiah.

As for the performance I can only say that Henry Brant, conductor Dennis Russell Davies and the Royal Concertgebouw have done themselves exceedingly proud. This is a masterful performance of this gargantuan and knotty work.

For those who love this work, I urge you to try it. For those who have heard the piano sonata and didn't think they liked it, I urge YOU to try it. In Kyle Gann's words about Brant's orchestration, "He's given the world a brand-new Charles Ives symphony."

Scott Morrison
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Richard W. Martin on September 2, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
i had never heard of this before it popped up on my amazon recommendations. having been an ives fan for 35 some odd years now, and having a pretty good knowledge of the concord (yes, i/m one of those who opened the score and fell out of my chair laughing, as if i could ever play this !), i had to have it.

i guess i/m not one who values purity above all else. there is a long tradition of arranging others music - i have no problem there. as a previous poster pointed out, it brings out lines that the piano version tends to meld. but the important thing to me is does it sound like ives ? to me, yes, somewhere between the 2nd and 4th symphonies. this was on first listen (10 minutes ago !). now it/s time to dig up the old piano score and follow along. best cd i/ve bought in over a year.
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Format: Audio CD
Ives' Concord Sonata (Piano Sonata No. 2, Concord, Mass., 1840-60) is the composer's best-known work, and contains a concentrated version of many of Ives' musical ideas. It is the work he poured much of his thought into, even going as far as writing a long essay, "Essay Before a Sonata" to amplify the work. Composer Henry Brant, who discovered Ives' work at age 15, set out late in life to create an orchestral transcription of the sonata, turning this craggy piano work into an orchestral exploration containing its own share of asperities.

One cannot hope to compare the actual piano work to this transcription; the difference between the solo piano (even in Ives' masterful use of the broad palette of colors available on the keyboard) and a full orchestra is vast. What Brant does is translate this work into another form. Eschewing much of the rhythmic material inherent in the piano, Brant opts for a transcription that brings in all the colors of the orchestra to interpret the sonata. For example, in the Emerson movement, the first part of the work and the most tempestuous, strong brass instruments are used in place of the harsh, fortissimo chords. Yet, later, woodwinds are at the heart of the more ethereal ending of the work, where subtle touches at the keyboard give melodic fragments.

In the Hawthorne movement, Brant chooses an almost Mahlerian selection of light instruments then heavy brasses to translate the rapid arpeggios and near tone clusters of the opening, before bringing in the string section. The Thoreau movement opens with a flute (which is appropriate, because of the use of the flute in some versions of the actual sonata, representing Thoreau's playing a flute by Walden Pond), then using colorful oboe runs to lay out the melodies.
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