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  • Hovhaness: The Rubaiyat / Exile Symphony (Symphony No. 1) / Meditation on Orpheus / Fantasy on Japanese Woodprints
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Hovhaness: The Rubaiyat / Exile Symphony (Symphony No. 1) / Meditation on Orpheus / Fantasy on Japanese Woodprints


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Audio CD, March 21, 1995
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Product Details

  • Performer: Michael York
  • Orchestra: Seattle Symphony
  • Conductor: Gerard Schwarz
  • Composer: Alan Hovhaness
  • Audio CD (March 21, 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Delos Records
  • ASIN: B0000006ZQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,841 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. The Rubaiyat, Op.282
2. Exile Symphony I: I. Andante expressivo: Allegro
3. Exile Symphony: II. Grazioso
4. Exile Symphony: III. Finale: Andante;Presto
5. Meditatiion on Orpheus, Op.155
6. Fantasy On Japanese Woodprints, Op.211

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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Gray VINE VOICE on August 12, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Eventually, if you enjoy Hovhaness as much as I, you will want to find much of his major works. There is no better place to start a collection of Hovhaness that his Symphony # 1 - "The Exiles".
This disc starts with a musical interpretation of Omar Khayyam's "Rubaiyat", and Hovhaness, with his fascination with Eastern music and motifs, brings a joy to a reading of Khayyam's poetry that cannot be denied. The narration is fine, and the background music is superb. Don't be put off by the fact that there's an accordion used in the orchestra. You will never find a better contrast between what most people think of when they hear the words "accordion music" and what is on this piece.
But it's the recording of Hovhaness' First Symphony that makes this disc worth purchasing for Hovhaness fans. At once bold and tragic, "The Exiles" gives new expression to what Hovhaness will find in later compositions. Although very bold and brassy, the underlying tone of futility gives "The Exiles" its edge.
"The Exiles" is a symphony in three parts. In the first movement, although you hear the people's lament as they are exiled, you also are aware that their heads are held high and proud. In the second movement, you really can imagine the people's desire to return home. In the third movement, the majesty seems to indicate that the exiles have returned home. It's as though Hovhaness was thinking of the Holocaust when composing this piece, and I'm sure some will agree.
The remaining two works, "Meditation on Orpheus", and "Fantasy On Japanese Woodprints" just add lesser known Hovhaness works to this fine CD.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 21, 2003
Format: Audio CD
The romantic mysticism of Alan Hovhaness is clearly evident in the two major pieces featured on this cd. The Rubaiyat is an incredibly gorgeous piece, featuring excerpts from Omar Khayyam's famous poem (narrated by the inimitable Michael York) and making delightful use of the classical accordion (don't laugh, the accordion can make truly beautiful and exotic sounds!) Hovhaness succeeds perfectly in capturing the poem's blend of youthful exuberance coupled with the inevitability of mortality. The Exile Symphony is the other major work, and it is a grand, solemn piece filled with rich, Oriental melodies that evoke the ancient traditions of the Near East. The other two works on the disc, the Meditation on Orpheus and the Fantasy on Japanese Woodprints, are lesser pieces but nonetheless emanate a haunting beauty. Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony play rapturously, proving beyond doubt that they have become one of America's premiere orchestras. Overall, a fine cd, worth the price for the Rubaiyat alone!
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By veritas on May 15, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I have regarded Fitzgerald's more-than-translation of Khayyam's quatrains very highly since I first discovered them. They might seem to be a trap for a composer -- how could one hope to match their poetic art with one's musical art?

IMHO, Hovhaness, York, Schwarz, and the Seattle Symphony have done so. The music is exotic enough to meld well with the poetry, but not at all beyond reach.

Mr. Gray and Mr. Thompson, reviewing above, are correct: this CD is well worth owning, both on its own merits and as an introduction to Hovhaness.
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