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Rainbow Body / Blue Cathedral / Symphony 1 / Appalachian Spring Suite
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The two new pieces are also alike in that they are among the better products of the so-called New Romanticism and, further, partake of another rather more European trend, the New Mysticism, like that of pieces by Tavener or Pärt, or closer to home, the ecstatic mysticism of American Richard Einhorn, whose 'Voices of Light' (happily introduced to me by fellow Amazon reviewer Bob Zeidler) has become such a phenomenon.
The two standard works on this disc--the Barber and the Copland--are given sterling performances here by Robert Spano, that extraordinarily talented American conductor, and his fine Atlanta Symphony, and the sound is also sterling, something we have come to expect from Telarc. These performances rank with the best ever made. Certainly, if you don't have recordings of either of these pieces you will not go wrong obtaining this CD.Read more ›
This new release is certainly a worthy successor... let's hope there are many more to come from this masterful team. I just can't stop listening to it. The choice of repertoire is brilliant in its novelty and variety, yet coherence and pacing. The Theofanidis title track is, for severe lack of vocabulary, drop-dead dazzling. It moves compellingly from ravishing, breathtaking beauty to spine-tingling, hair-raising power. It's especially enjoyable to listen to in conjunction with Hildegard's "Ave Maria, O Auctrix Vite" (as on Sequentia's Canticles of Ecstasy), the chant which inspired and permeates the piece.
Jennifer Higdon's blue cathedral is every bit as irresistibly gorgeous and effective. You really MUST hear these pieces, especially performed at this superb level of musicality and recorded in Jack Renner's customarily peerless sound.
In case the new stuff isn't enough to persuade you to purchase, you should know that the accounts of Barber's First Symphony and Copland's Appalachian Spring Suite are unsurpassed in the recorded catalog. There... intrigued?
On the other hand, Barber's First Symphony has been well served on disc; there have been fine recordings from the likes of Leonard Slatkin, David Zinman, and Marin Alsop. If Spano and Atlanta have nothing especially new to add, theirs is a handsome performance full of the tragic drama that has commended this work to listeners since it was written.
But many will come to this disc for the new music primarily. Be assured it doesn't sound out of place in such august company. Christopher Theofanidis's "Rainbow Body" takes as its point of departure a piece by the medieval mystic and composer Hildegard von Bingen. The melody is fragmented, then put back together in music that builds to an intense pitch. "Rainbow Body" sometimes sounds like Hovhaness, but that is mostly a matter of a similar reliance on a modal melody and strangely similar orchestral garb in which the melody is clothed at each of its appearances.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Blue Cathedral was featured in a Fort Worth Symphony concert, and we loved it. I found this that night on Amazon and ordered it right then. We knew we were going to enjoy it.Published 11 months ago by cavewoman
originally bought for just Blue Cathedral, but has shot to the top of my favorite CDs!Published 14 months ago by Marc Paige
This was the only cd of blue cathedral that I could find. Nice piece, nice CD. I have only listened to the other pieces lightly, but really liked the blue cathedral recording.Published 15 months ago by Orch. Musician
Arrived very fast and is as marvelous as I thought it would be!Published 16 months ago by K. Warnick
In 2001, when the Atlanta Symphony's then-new conductor Robert Spano took over the orchestra, he selected for this 2003 release four American works, two old and two newer. Read morePublished 20 months ago by John J. Puccio
Spano once again shows his genius for finding accessible new music, and pairing it in this case with slightly older "standards".Published 23 months ago by dsm