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Out West!: Tone Poems of the American West

4.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, December 11, 1992
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony went right to the top of the pile with their pairing of a complete Billy the Kid and the "Four Dance Episode" from Rodeo. The accounts are stunningly well-recorded and well-played, vivid, colorful, and imaginatively characterized. --Ted Libbey

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Grand Canyon Suite: Sunrise
  2. Grand Canyon Suite: Painted Desert
  3. Grand Canyon Suite: On The Trail
  4. Grand Canyon Suite: Sunset
  5. Grand Canyon Suite: Cloudburst
  6. Billy The Kid: Billy The Kid (Suite From The Ballet)
  7. Rodeo (Four Dance Episodes): Buckaroo Holiday
  8. Rodeo (Four Dance Episodes): Corral Nocturne
  9. Rodeo (Four Dance Episodes): Saturday Night Waltz
  10. Rodeo (Four Dance Episodes): Hoe-Down


Product Details

  • Orchestra: Seattle Symphony
  • Conductor: Gerard Schwarz
  • Composer: Aaron Copland, Ferde Grofe
  • Audio CD (December 11, 1992)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Delos
  • ASIN: B0000006XQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #595,681 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on February 10, 2001
The Seattle Symphony and Maestro Schwarz do a marvelous job on this classic masterpiece. They almost, but not quite, make up for the low quality recording. DELOS recorded this cd in the Opera House in Seattle 10 years ago. At the beginning of the "Sunrise" and "Painted Desert" movements the music is barely there and unless you have high quality playback equipment the accompanying noise almost overpowers the music. The same can be said of the horn echoes at the beginning of "Sunset." Playback on better equipment yields far better results but it seems DELOS would have known to "hold the microphones a little closer."
"Billy the Kid" and "Rodeo" are exceptional, particularly the familiar, "Hoedown".
The Seattle Symphony is magnificent as always. I would love to hear them do The Grand Canyon Suite live, WOW! I believe this performance should be considered "definitive." If only...
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Other people here have complained of a "low" recording level. I don't get that at all, but I suspect that they are using inferior playback equipment (as one suggests). What they are not understanding, I presume, is that this recording has tremendous dynamic range, meaning the quiet passages are truly quiet and the loud passages are shockingly loud (the tympani in Billy the Kidd...there is a "warning" for good reason.) Most recordings use a lot of compression to make everything seem to be at one level. This actually robs the music of all it's character, but it does mean that you can always "hear" the quiet passages. The genesis of compression was car stereo - getting the average level above road noise meant dialing up the compression so everything was louder. Over the years, compression was applied in increasingly greater amounts...the so-called 'loudness wars', mostly on the popular music side but also on other forms of music. Acoustic music does benefit from some modest compression as our homes are not concert halls, and most people's music systems are of modest quality. But it would be a shame to leave people with the impression that this is a flawed recording, when it is in fact really excellent, and is demo quality on a good system. I think Bernstein's performance of these works is still the best, but Schwartz' is excellent and it's the best recording I've found to date, even if it's 1990s digital.
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My review is mainly just to second the other review. Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony do a fine job with these pieces. It is so unfortunate that the recording level was set so as to make for a lack of presence. The engineers did pick up bass drum and timpani very well, and a system with a good subwoofer will really bring them out--it's just that the faithful reproduction of percussion is somewhat jarring because they come out great but everything else is still too distant. For the performances on this CD plus the low price I paid I can recommend it; just be prepared for less than
perfect sound.
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awesome music. only problem is the volume - you have to turn up the volume for the first few songs, then BAM it gets loud. the whole cd is glorious
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This is one of those sad attempts to create some audiophile excitement with an totally impractical dynamic range. There is even a warning on the back that the gunshots in Billy the Kid can harm your speakers! The secret to this is to record most of the music at such a low level that you can hardly hear it, so you have to crank up your volume control, and then they can let loose with those ear-shattering and speaker-blowing effects. Why? I'm reminded of Monty Python's "spring surprise" candy.

I can't say I'm at all impressed with the performances, either. Soporific is the easiest way to describe them. My mind completely wandered off during "Sunset".

Track down a copy of Paul Whiteman conducting the Grand Canyon Suite. That's the way it should be done.
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