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Rorem: Three Symphonies


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Audio CD, August 19, 2003
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Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

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 No. 3: Passacaglia 6:49$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Symphony No. 3: Allegro molto vivace 2:33$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Symphony No. 3: Largo 2:37$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Symphony No. 3: Andante 5:17$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Symphony No. 3: Allegro molto 7:15$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Symphony No. 1: Maestoso 5:04$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Symphony No. 1: Andantino 4:06$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Symphony No. 1: Largo 6:33$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Symphony No. 1: Allegro 6:38$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen10. Symphony No. 2: Broad, Moderate15:25$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen11. Symphony No. 2: Tranquillo 3:45$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen12. Symphony No. 2: Allegro 3:14$0.89  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 19, 2003)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos American Classics
  • Run Time: 70 minutes
  • ASIN: B0000ACY0V
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,086 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
5 star
68%
4 star
26%
3 star
0%
2 star
5%
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See all 19 customer reviews
Highest recommendation for a unique recording.
LuelCanyon
Ned Rorem has a way of orchestrating that appeals to the listener with the overall effect.
David A. Wend
I really like the Passacaglia opening movement of the Third Symphony (1958).
David Anthony Hollingsworth

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 54 people found the following review helpful By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 22, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Ned Rorem (b. 1923) has long-been known as the composer of some of the loveliest and most effective American art songs ever written. The Elektra/Asylum CD of a couple of years ago by Susan Graham, mezzo, accompanied by Malcom Martineau and the Naxos CD by soprano Carole Farley accompanied by the composer even more recently are eloquent testimony to that fact. I wouldn't be without either of them. And just a few months ago we got a magnificent CD of Rorem chamber music, also from Naxos. But here we get a big taste of Rorem's orchestral compositions--three symphonies no less--and I'm here to tell you that they are Important Pieces; their neglect up to now is simply shameful. I keep perhaps tiresomely reiterating how grateful we should be to Naxos for bringing things like these symphonies to us. But practically every month there is a release like this one--wonderful American classical music that we've never heard before, often never even heard OF before, and in superb performances.
These three tonal symphonies were all written in the 1950s at a time when the academic mafia was gearing up to brainwash us into thinking that tonal music was unnecessary, even subversive somehow. I remember derogatory comments being made back then that American tonal music was somehow kin to the state-mandated tonal 'music for the masses' from the Soviet Union. Although Rorem's Third Symphony was premièred by Leonard Bernstein, got some play initially and had a fine recording by the Utah Symphony back in LP days, none of these three has been taken up in any significant way by American (or other) orchestras. This may partly have been because Rorem was subconsciously characterized as 'just' a song composer.
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By David A. Kemp on June 15, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This is an outstanding recording on all counts: music, performance, and sound. Recorded and issued in 2003, to commemorate the composer's 80th birthday, it was nominated for Grammy awards for Best Classical Album, Best Orchestral Performance, and Best Engineered Classical Album, and has received glowing reviews. Rorem's neglected three numbered symphonies (he is best known as writer of songs) were written from 1948 to 1958. The only one previously recorded is the Third, which received its premiere by Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic in 1959 to much acclaim. These three symphonies are succinct and pithy; their musical language is tonal, eclectic, conservative; they are accessible and immensely attractive; their moods range from power and vigor to playfulness and lyricism, and they have passages of considerable eloquence and beauty. The performances leave nothing to be desired, and the sound is state of the art: open and transparent, with wide dynamic range and full frequency range. Thanks and congratulations to Rorem, Serebrier (who wrote the excellent liner notes), the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, producer/engineer Phil Rowlands, and wonderfully enterprising Naxos for a magnificent CD. And Happy Birthday, Ned Rorem!
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By David A. Wend on August 23, 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It is strange that only the Third Symphony of Ned Rorem has been previously recorded. Rorem's symphonies were written in the 1950s when atonal music was the direction most composers were exploring. Hence these lyrical masterpieces tended to be performed and forgotten.

Mr. Rorem described the First symphony as a suite. It was completed in 1950 and was performed the next year. The music is characterized by lush melodies, seeming to describe nature. The influence of French composers, like Faure (particularly in the pastoral opening) is very apparent. As is the prominent use of flute and oboe solos in the orchestration but all this is taken by Mr. Rorem in his own direction. There is mystery and pastoral charm in the Largo that is balanced against the playful charm of the Allegro Finale. This is an appealing symphony that is astonishingly beautiful.

The Second Symphony has been performed less frequently than the First and Third. Composed in 1956, it has a long first movement (over 15 minutes) that is dramatic in character. The symphony takes off with a short theme played by the full orchestra then develops into a somber interlude played by the strings and woodwinds. Eventually, the bassoons initiate a more playful theme that is carried through the entire orchestra with a snare drum tapping out a staccato rhythm. The movement returns to a pastoral theme played by the strings and woodwinds. The final two movements are just over 3 minutes each. The Tranquillo movement is reminiscent of Aaron Copland in the quiet, song-like music and the finale is an exuberant scherzo movement with a nice part written for piano. The appeal of this symphony is certainly the equal of the other two.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By David Anthony Hollingsworth on September 28, 2003
Format: Audio CD
The music of Ned Rorem, other than his songs, has not fared well in the catalogue (and in the concert halls for that matter). Despite the advocacy of Bernstein, Serebrier, Schwarz, Zinman, Slatkin, Tilson-Thomas, Alsop, Kuchar, and even Whitney & Mester especially in the music of Walter Piston, American classical music is still under-performed in concert halls and in the theatres (Hanson's "Merry Mount" have yet to be performed and recorded in our digital age). Even radio stations are for the most part could have done more on their parts in that regard. But the tides are turning in its favor, thanks to recording labels such as Naxos, Chandos, First Edition Music, and Sony Classical in giving us the exposure truly deserving to the immense talents these American composers possess and their pioneers who recorgnize them. Though recordings do not necessarily mean the music's entry into public performances, such an enterprising venture of these artists and recording companies is a good enough start.
Ned Rorem, far more of a prolific composer than the recordings would suggest, is more recognized as a great composer of songs. But his symphonies are impressive in their own right, not just in terms of the orchestration, which is as vivid as, say, Benjamin Frankel's, but his ideas and manipulation of them shows him as a composer of ingenuity. I really like the Passacaglia opening movement of the Third Symphony (1958). The gesture is bold and majestic, pretty much in the neighborhood of Copland and for a moment Leonard Bernstein's film music for "On the Waterfront" (especially for the final scene where after Terry Malloy conquered corruption, he enters triumphally into the loading docks followed by his fellow workers).
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