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Howard Hanson Conducts Hanson: Symphonies Nos. 1-3 / Piano Concerto / Elegy / Merry Mount Suite / Mosaics Box set

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, September 13, 2005
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Eastman-Rochester Orchestra
  • Conductor: Howard Hanson
  • Composer: Howard Hanson
  • Audio CD (September 13, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Philips
  • ASIN: B000A5DLQ0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #497,177 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Michael Brad Richman HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 10, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Those familiar with my reviews on Amazon know of my great love for the Mercury Living Presence series. Equally great is my disgust that so many of these brilliant recordings have been deleted in the last few years! Thankfully, some of these legendary performances are resurfacing, and while the single disc titles are unfortunately listed at full-price, it is wonderful to see the various multi-disc sets basically being sold at budget line. With this 4CD reissue, Howard Hanson's legendary MLP recordings of his own music are restored to the catalog, as two of the original three CDs -- one that collected Symphony No. 3 with "Elegy" and The Lament for Beowulf," and the other the Piano Concerto with "Merry Mount Suite," "Mosaics" and "For The First Time" -- were out-of-print. The music is wonderful, showcasing a sadly unappreciated American composer conducting his own works, but this set does have a few non-musical problems in my opinion. First, a single SACD Hybrid of Symphonies 1 & 2 was just released a few months back and surely some people already bought it. Also, like the original second disc from the set featuring the Piano Concerto and other pieces, CD4 from this collection features Hanson's insightful comments over excerpts from "Merry Mount Suite," "Mosaics" and "For The First Time." This is certainly informative material, but it doesn't necessarily warrant repeated listenings and certainly doesn't need to be factored into the price of this set. Since we are getting three CDs of music, we should pay for three CDs of music, not four! Despite these shortcomings, overall this is an attractive package -- glorious golden age stereo recordings returned to the catalog at a very reasonable price. Once again, Mercury Living Presence lives!
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Stereophile editor uses disc 2 where the conductor Howard Hanson takes the listener through the orchestra, one instrument and section at a time with the artists sitting on the stage in front of you in the standard symphony array. A great tool to get to know the sounds of the different instruments and how the author thinks about using the sounds alone and in combination to create a mood or ethnic feel as HH describes. This is a Mercury Living Presence title and is of the highest quality, it was well miked, the engineers knew the venue well and it shows in the end product. HH's original work also included on disks 1,3 & 4 is interesting and well constructed. worth a listen but start with disk 2 and you will enjoy the rest far more, as well your other favorites. Makes a great introduction to the symphony orchestra for a newbie. There are other HH works out there that are also special, there is a 3 channel SACD available.

This Mercury Living Presence SACD of Hanson's "Nordic" and "Romantic" Symphonies presents, for the first time, the composer's celebrated interpretations in their original 3-channel (left, right & centre) versions. In addition to this direct-to-DSD 3-channel stereo, the disc includes a new DSD stereo, plus the original CD transfer.

Features:
A 3-Channel direct-to-DSD transfer from original analogue masters

Musicians:
Eastman School of Music Chorus
Eastman-Rochester Orchestra
Howard Hanson, conductor
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Nothing sounds like Mercury Living Presence (RCA Living Stereo comes the closest) classical recordings of the 50's and 60's : the sound is fat and full (unlike most digital recordings today) and clear and just incredible overall. Howard Hanson conducts his first 3 symphonies on this cd and they are incredible works....possibly the greatest of all 20th century symphonies. Each one sounds modern, yet romantic, with a 19th century influence that pervades them all. If you like Brahms or Dvorak or Rachmaninoff, you will like these works as well....probably not as obviously American as Copland, these works have a European flavor with the bleakness of Sibelius which really makes them something incredible.... Each of the symphonies gets more fascinating as they proceed numerically...the No. 3 is miraculous to say the least.... Definitely a masterpiece of symphonic construction.... His fugal Elegy is another incredible work that should not be missed.... Stunning stuff here....
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This is the great Howard Hanson at his very best. Re produced from the original Mercury Record masters the Eastman Rochester Orchestra sounds quite good. A great item for Howard Hanson fans or for people who are interested in hearing Hanson for the first time.
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