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Symphony No. 3 & First Light & Awakened Heart

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Audio CD, May 29, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

Strongly inclined towards neoromanticism, Richard Danielpour's music is a rich unity of energy, intensity, and serenity. First Light reveals these elements perfectly with its rhythmically charged writing contrasting with hypnotic chant melodies. The Awakened Heart is a kaleidoscopic three-movement work that ranges from darkness and passion through a stately chorale to an exuberant and breathless conclusion. Symphony No. 3 charts a triumphant ascent from "the dream of death and our own fearful existence" to a belief "in a world of hope and love." "Danielpour is an outstanding composer for any time - one who knows how to communicate deep, important emotions through simple, direct means." (The New York Daily News)
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 29, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos American Classics
  • ASIN: B007N0SWUA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #440,852 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
Naxos has reissued under its own label the 1992 Delos edition, featuring Gerard Schwarz leading the Seattle Symphony. Danielpour, a New York-born composer whose Persian-Jewish heritage seemed to instill an introspective, philosophical, somewhat mystical direction to his music, has the academic grounding [training at Oberlin, New England Conservatory of Music, and Julliard; teaching at Curtis Institute and Manhattan School of Music] to produce a strong discography of rich symphonic and chamber pieces full of exotic melodic phrasing and punctuating rhythm. First Light, the first track, sets the album's mediation. It is inspired by Robert Duncan's poem, Four Pictures of the Real Universe, which takes a Pythagorean or Eastern perspective of underlying cosmic music that arise from first light, or in modern terms the photon wash of the Big Bang. The Awakened Heart is a tryptich, beginning with a calming dream, moving into a self-examination, and ending with the courageous spunk of understanding. The final composition stemmed from Danielpour's reading of A Course in Miracles; his Symphony No. 3, subtitled Journey Without Distance, is set to excerpts of the books' text (in notes), sung by Faith Esharm with the Seattle Chorale. Some of Danielpour's music has been compared to Stravinsky and Shostokovich in part from its jagged complexities of rhythms and colorful orchestrations, as found here in the opening of the Symphony. Together, Naxos was wise in bringing forth again this splendid unified collection of compositions from 1989 to 1990. 66 minutes.
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By Robert B. Lamm on April 24, 2014
Format: Audio CD
I like Danielpour's music - really - but the more I listen to it the more I think it's derivative and that it all sounds alike. For example, I liked his "Celestial Night," but if I were to listen to this recording and that one in rapid succession, I'm not sure I could tell them apart. There's a bit of Bernstein, a bit of Stravinsky, and so on - all good models, of course - but by middle of the CD I'm wondering how much longer it's going to go on and what's the next CD in the player.

I am interested in getting his two new recordings, but I fear that - for me at least - if I've heard them one I've heard them all, so from a cost and time limitation perspective, I think I'll just stick with "Celestial Night" and leave it at that.
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