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Skyscrapers (1926) And Other Music of the American East Coast School [Digital Sound]

London Symphony OrchestraVinyl
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Vinyl
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Digital Sound
  • Label: Angel Digital DS-49263
  • ASIN: B003NXHC3Y
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

Editorial Reviews

Angel DS-49263: Skyscrapers by Kenneth Klein

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Michael
Format:Audio CD
Conductor Kenneth Klein has dune us a huge favor. It is or should be the desire of all those who appreciates American symphonic music to look upon this CD as a real jewel.

Klein brings to the forefront wonderful treasures that for the most part have been missing from the on going fabric of our American culture.

Perhaps the greatest and best known of the five compositions is the Suite in E for Strings Op.63 by Arthur Foote. What is notable about this work is that it may just be the best recording of this work ever. Its tempo and passion demonstrates that Klein seems to be in touch with the spirit of that composer. In fact, I think it is much more dynamic than Eugene Ormandy's recording with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1939. You may have heard this work many times before, but never like this.

The surprise, at least to me was John Alden Carpenter's Skyscrapers. Carpenter is not new to me but his 1924 work Skyscrapers was a bit of a question mark for me. I had never heard the work before. I've now heard it three times and I'm not sure what to make of the work. It's not necessarily a hard work to listen to, but it is different.

I was pleased that Mr. Klein added works from both Edward McDowell and Dudley Buck. Anytime works are presented from these two composers it is a positive gift for us the listener. For Duck it is just delightful that his music still carries on, however for McDowell, this 19th century American giant should always be remembered in the coming decades because of his shear brilliance of and the smooth delivery of his music.

If this CD was $40.00 it would still be a great buy. Klein has done his work well. He conducts these works as if the ink were not yet dry. The music is fresh, the recording clear. The CD is a treasure and deserves an honored spot in your musical library.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Prelude to Oedipus Tyrranus January 30, 2006
Format:Audio CD
The first work in this collection, the prelude to Oedipus Tyrranus by John Knowles Paine, is a most compelling piece of music, not to be missed.

The structure is tight, the music is terse -- all very classical, but with waves of passionate declamation that astonish. A churning figuration courses through the movement, rather like a locomotive that cannot be stopped, or shall we say, like fate? A powerful combination of music both elemental and emotional, which is, I think, a fitting evocation of Greek tragedy.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
All the composers represented on this disc were infinitely more familiar and popular in their own day, of course, but recordings have managed to introduce modern listeners to most of them, Dudley Buck probably being the least known today. So it's especially nice to be able to recommend his work as the most immediately attractive and successful of the lot. It's successful because it does perfectly what it sets out to do: create a clever fantasy based on a patriotic tune. And it is clever, with interesting harmonic twists and turns and a clearly tongue-in-cheek feeling that would make it the perfect companion, on a summer concert program, for William Schuman's orchestral version of the Ives "Variations on America." It may not be quite as loopy and irreverent as the Ives, but it is still fun.

The other works on the disc are all more or less serious in intent with the exception of Carpenter's "Skyscrapers," an early example of orchestral jazz. As a ballet, it might be interesting to watch, with its irregular dance rhythms and quotations from popular song. A good producer-choreographer team could probably make a colorful affair of it onstage. On CD, it comes across as a pastiche with little memorable melodic content. It's nice to hear occasionally, especially for the interesting orchestration (including parts for banjo, air whistle, two pianos and a big percussion section), but the truth is it pales besides the efforts of Milhaud, Gershwin, Antheil, et al.

Of the other works on the CD, I find McDowell's "Lamia" the most interesting. It is clearly a high-Romantic creation in the manner of Liszt's tone poems.
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