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Symphony 22: City of Light / Cello Concerto Original recording remastered


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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, April 15, 2003
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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 TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Cello Concerto, Op. 17: Andante - MaestosoJanos Starker15:58Album Only
listen  2. Cello Concerto, Op. 17: AllegroJanos Starker 3:26$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Cello Concerto, Op. 17: AndanteJanos Starker11:45Album Only
listen  4. Symphony No. 22, Op. 236, "City of Light": Allegro moderatoSeattle Symphony Orchestra 9:57Album Only
listen  5. Symphony No. 22, Op. 236, "City of Light": Angel of LightSeattle Symphony Orchestra 3:55$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Symphony No. 22, Op. 236, "City of Light": Allegretto graziosoSeattle Symphony Orchestra 2:42$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Symphony No. 22, Op. 236, "City of Light": Finale: Largo maestosoSeattle Symphony Orchestra13:00Album Only

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Frequently Bought Together

Symphony 22: City of Light / Cello Concerto + Symphony 60 + Hovhaness: Guitar Concerto No. 2- Fanfare for the New Atlantis / Symphony No. 63- Loon Lake
Price for all three: $26.97

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Product Details

  • Performer: Janos Starker
  • Orchestra: Seattle Symphony
  • Conductor: Dennis Russell Davies
  • Composer: Alan Hovhaness
  • Audio CD (April 15, 2003)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Naxos
  • Run Time: 61 minutes
  • ASIN: B00008V5ZW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,369 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

Hovhaness wrote stunning music, and many of his symphonies are coming into their own both on recordings and in concert halls. Almost unknown, however, is his Cello Concerto, composed early in his career (1936). It's a nice, if not glorious, work, and it foreshadows much of his later output. In particular, in it one gets the sense of his mysticism and spirituality which permeates his symphonies. Janos Starker plays it handsomely, the orchestra is good, and the sonics are excellent. The Symphony No. 22, titled "City of Light," is grand Hovhaness, with massive brass statements and elegant contrapuntal doodlings. Again, playing and sound are first-rate. This CD is a beautiful bargain. --Robert Levine

Customer Reviews

As an admirer of Hovhaness's music, I knew that I would enjoy this CD from the start.
Eric S. Kim
Dissatisfied with his progress as a composer, Hovhaness burned more than 1,000 apprentice works in 1940 (he was only 29!).
Miles D. Moore
Hovhaness merits inclusion in this series (he deserves more than one disc); and this CD is a good introduction.
Robin Friedman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Richard A. Cavalla on July 7, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Wow. I had never heard Alan Hovhaness before, but decided to give this budget disc on Naxos a try. After all, I had been impressed with a number of other discs in the label's "American Classics" series. I was a little tentative though, because I have heard Hovhaness compared to Philip Glass and Arvo Part, two composers who I find incapable of sustaining long form works. While Hovhaness shares some traits with those composers, particularly in his simple (but not simplistic!) harmonic language, he has a much firmer grasp of drama and structure. The cello concerto is an overwhelmingly slow work, with about 90% being slow or moderate in tempo. Nonetheless, the cello writing is beautiful, though certainly not virtuosic, and the interplay between the various sections of the orchestra give it a chamber-music feel.
The Symphony, however, is the real masterpiece on this disc. It is a grand, towering, moving work that reminds me of Rautavaara meets Bruckner. It is still mostly moderate in pace, but more varied in its tempos than the cello concerto. The finale is one of the greatest things I have ever heard, and I have heard a *lot* of music and have hundreds and hundreds of CDs in my collection. It has an air of brilliance and triumph that, to me (and I kid you not), rivals the finale of Beethoven's Ninth (albeit minus the vocal soloists).
If you are new to Hovhaness, this is a magnificant place to start.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 13, 2003
Format: Audio CD
If you're a Hovhaness completist (that's a joke, son!) or a listener whose taste runs to the musical orientalism of, say, Lou Harrison, you'll want to hear Hovhaness's early Cello Concerto. Long before the East-meets-West raprochement was fashionable, or even acceptable, in American music, Hovhaness was apparently doing it in works as ingratiating as the concerto. Though the piece is somewhat wayward and includes more than its share of longeurs, it also has that static, contemplative beauty that can be found the best of Hovhaness's later works, as cello and winds toss modal filigrees about between hymn-like episodes for the orchestral strings and brass. It all has a rather hypnotic effect that you want to return to. And then it's always good to hear the legendary Janos Starker again, even if the concerto is hardly a showpiece for the solo cello.
On the other hand, if you like the classic Hovhaness of "Mysterious Mountain," you will certainly relish the "City of Light" Symphony. While architecturally the two works are dissimilar (the fast music of "Mysterious Mountain" coming toward the center, while the reverse is true in the later work), they both have the same by turns reverential and monumental quality that places them, for me, among the finest of American symphonies. At the mystical heart of Symphony No. 22 is the gentle second movement called "Angel of Light," apparently a reminiscence by the composer of Christmas as a child. Magically inflected by harp and then celesta, it effectively combines the naive and the deeply spiritual. The last movement retuns us to the majesty of the first movement but with an added triumphalism that builds to a resounding close punctuated by the tam-tam. Bruckner would have understood.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 29, 2003
Format: Audio CD
The late Alan Hovhaness (1911-2000)was a prolific and gifted American composer. He enjoyed a degree of popular success during his lifetime although he did not achieve the critical recognition he deserved. His work is melodic, accessible and heavily influenced by eastern music, mysticism, and nature.
Naxos has included this CD consisting of Hovhaness' early Concerto for Cello Opus 17 (1936) and his 1971 Symphony, "City of Light" as part of its "American Classics" series designed to introduce the listener, at budget prices, to the range of American achievements in the composition of classical music. Hovhaness merits inclusion in this series (he deserves more than one disc); and this CD is a good introduction.
The Cello concerto of 1937 is an early work. The recording here dates from 1999 and features the renowned cellist Janos Starker playing with the Seattle Symphony. The concerto shows Hovhaness, I think, under the deep influence of Jean Sibelius, whom he visited as a young man. The concerto is in three movements with the outer two slow and lengthy movements surrounding a brief allegro movement. There is substantial interplay in the outer movement of this work between the cello and the solo flute together with long orchestral interludes. There are long, melodic lines and moments of lyricism particularly in the third movement. The liner notes repeat a legend that has grown with the telling that Hovhaness destroyed "close to 1000" works in 1940 but spared this concerto. Hovhaness did have a commendable capacity for self-criticism, but my understanding is that this story and the number of works at issue has grown with the years. Be that as it may, this cello concerto is an appealing work.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Currie-Knight TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 28, 2006
Format: Audio CD
While the rest of the "classical" music world was paving the road to hell with serialism a la Shoenberg and "experimentalism" a la Cage, a select few of the more sensible composers stuck with good old reliable tonality to get their point across. Sadly, it is the more "avante garde" composers that are remembered today (more because their music was different than good).

Alan Hovhaness was one such composer than undeservedly fell by the wayside. Halfway between the impressionism of Ravel and the (what would be) minimalism of Philip Glass, Hovhaness's music tends to rely on fairly static, dronelike harmonies, long but often repeated (and modal) melodies, and a marvelously measured blending of Eastern and Western sounds. At a time when "classical" music became more bizarre and less accessible, Hovhaness was a uniquely unique, yet accessable composer.

While other amazon reviewers seem to prefer the Symphony ("City of Lights"), I want to chime in to rave about the Cello concerto.

In contrast to "City of Lights," the Cello concerto is suprisingly sparse sounding (especially considering that it is scored for a full orchestra). Where the symphony's first movement utilizes bold, rich, and full chords, the cello concerto's first movement generally consists of one instrument (cello or flute, mostly) playing a melody over a drone provided by the strings (with a little wind coloration here and there). The melodies in this first movement (using the phrygian mode) are some of the most hauntingly sweet melodies I have heard, sounding like a darker version of Ravel.

By contrast, the second movement (less than three minutes) is a rhythmically steady allegro with a Germanic sounding cello melody in front of steadily pulsing pizzicato strings.
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Symphony 22: City of Light / Cello Concerto
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