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Danielpour: An American Requiem

3.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

With An American Requiem, Danielpour aims unequivocally at the grand gesture. The work's theme is the necessity for peace, and man's relationship to war (and, though not the composer's original intention, it was dedicated to the victims of the disaster of September 11th, 2001). The orchestration is gorgeous and lavish, the vocal writing romantically lush. The theme, and the way in which poetry – by Whitman, Emerson, Michael Harper, Hilda Doolittle (better known as H.D.) and Anonymous – is interspersed with sections from the Latin Requiem Mass will inevitably immediately bring to mind Britten's War Requiem, and certainly structurally such a comparison is valid. There is also the odd musical reminiscence, but Danielpour's vocabulary is quite different, carrying as it does echoes of a kind of Gallic Copland and, unexpectedly, occasionally suggesting recent Rautavaara. It will be clear from this that the work is traditional in manner, and the rhetoric associated with oratorio is far from eschewed. At its best this can be very effective and stirring – try the impressive 'Hosanna', for example, or the fierce 'Libera me'. The spiritual given to the baritone soloist before the Agnus Dei, which inevitably recalls Tippett's A Child of Our Time, rather misses the mark, however. It doesn't seem to be an organic part of the work in the sense that the other secular poetry is – the way the haunting setting of Michael Harper's words connects with the first and third parts of the Agnus Dei, for example, is truly inspired. I am not quite convinced that the whole adds up to the sum of its parts, but it is a brave work, and there is much food for thought here. The performance is excellent, and particularly outstanding is the contralto Stephanie Blythe whose velvet-toned lower register is complemented by a silvery, ethereal higher range. Ivan Moody -- From International Record Review - subscribe now

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Product details

  • Performer: Richard Danielpour, Carl St.Clair, Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Pacific Chorale, Blythe, et al.
  • Audio CD (February 26, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Reference Recordings
  • ASIN: B00005YJZK
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #321,779 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Format: MP3 Music|Verified Purchase
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on April 6, 2002
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on October 19, 2004
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