Suffice to say Schnittke's Eighth Symphony is truly one of his greatest works and, indeed, one of the great symphonic works of the latter twentieth century. The charge of oppressive asceticism laid against the Sixth and Seventh symphonies can hardly be held up to this expansive and frankly emotional work. It is as if Schnittke relaxed the skeletal sounds of his previous essays in the genre and, while not quite returning to the dazzling orchestral pyrotechnics of the Fifth Symphony (Concerto Grosso no. 4), created a work of great sincerity and beauty. The first movement is an obsessive repetition of a wide-ranging (in pitch, not rhythm) melody, seemingly effortlessly varied to touch on all sections of the orchestra. The climax is reached early in the movement and the remainder is a chilling decrescendo, the harmonies becoming more static and dissonant. The second and fourth movements are bitter, angry and Shostakovichian in their use of dissonant intervals to create a long line. They share thematic material, yet shards of the first and third movements invade to further complicate the texture. The eighteen minute third movement is a remarkable achievement. It seems to pick up the wisps of tonality discernable at the end of Mahler's Ninth and convert them into a long elegy for a lost romanticism. The sparsity of texture (often long stretches of monophonic strings) throws the emotive weight totally on the long, twisting and often stunningly beautiful melodies that emerge. The entrance of the low brass towards the end is just one of the profound moments in this stunning meditation on life, and the afterlife. After the rage of the fourth movement, the fifth movement provides a truly wonderful solution to the problems of the previous ones- a slowly ascending c major scale is caught by various instruments, always ppp and the work ends with this visionary cluster.Amazon.com
The late Alfred Schnittke has, after his death, been accused of writing too much music of variable quality. This debate is still raging although suffice to say that the Eighth Symphony truly is one of his greatest works and indeed, one of the great symphonic works of the latter twentieth century. The charge of oppressive asceticism laid against the Sixth and Seventh symphonies can hardly be held up to this expansive and frankly emotional work. It is as if Schnittke relaxed the skeletal sounds of his previous essays in the genre and, while not quite returning to the dazzling orchestral pyrotechnics of the Fifth Symphony (Concerto Grosso no. 4), creating a work of great sincerity and beauty. The first movement is an obsessive repetition of a wide-ranging (in pitch, not rhythm) melody, seemingly effortlessly varied to touch on all sections of the orchestra.
In many ways the Fourth Symphony illustrates Krenek's independence from any one musical style – and ultimately from his teacher(s) and those who influenced him, like Busoni, too. It has a thread of mid-century anguish and uncertainty. But it could never be described as avant-garde or experimental. Yet it's of a pleasing unity, has direction and thrust which make it more than merely stimulating listening. Like all but those of the first and second symphonies, this one on cpo is the only recording. It's full of purpose, clarity and of transparent, open, yet very …….Mark Sealey @ classical.net
Swiss-born Bloch, a pupil of Eugène Ysaÿe, emigrated to the United States in 1916. Written in 1926, two years after Bloch had become an American citizen, America: An Epic Rhapsody, is the composer’s tribute to his adopted country. This romantic and patriotic score vividly surveys the history of the US from the native American melodies of pre-colonial days to the modern era of 1920s jazz and beyond. The Concerto Grosso No 1 is a bold statement which unites the eighteenth-century concerto grosso form with a modern tonal language.
Unique in the history of Italian progressive music, New Trolls were leaders and were for a time the top band in Italy. In 1973, New Trolls split into two camps, the hard-rocking IBIS and the symphonic-oriented New Trolls Atonic System. They crossed many different permutations of line-up changes, many musical stylings… and great hits, passing through beat, pop ballads, progressive rock works, hard rock, and melodic pop followed groups like Genesis and PFM.
'The Concerto Project Vol. III' is the penultimate release in a series of four albums to be issued by Orange Mountain Music documenting the eight Philip Glass concertos to date. Volume III includes Glass's 'Concerto Grosso' commissioned by the City of Bonn for the opening of the Stadtische Kunstmuseum in the German city in 1992. Each movement of the Concerto Grosso is written for a distinctive group of instruments - the winds, brass and strings, which together make up a symphonic ensemble. In this live 1993 recording it is played by the Beethoven Orchester Bonn conducted by long-time Glass associate Dennis Russell Davies, the musicians who premiered the work - under its original title of Concerto for Three Ensembles - in June 1992. The second concerto is Glass's 'Concerto for Saxophone Quartet', performed by its dedicatees, the internationally renowned Raschèr Saxophone Quartet who premiered the piece at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in 1995.