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horwood, michael s (1947-)  -  Suite and serious / joseph kubera, sinfonia varsovia, ian hobson

 
  • Format : CD

  • New or Used : original new
  • Cover condition : S (?)
  • Media condition : S (?)

  • Label : Albany 943
  • Pressing : UPC/EAN: 034061094326 - USA
  • Year : 2007
  • Comment : Michael S. Horwood: Suite And Serious / Ian Hobson, Et Al Release Date: 07/17/ ... See below

  • Quantity available : 1
 
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Michael S. Horwood: Suite And Serious / Ian Hobson, Et Al

Release Date: 07/17/2007
Label: Albany Records Catalog #: 943 Spars Code: DDD
Composer: Michael S. Horwood
Performer: Joseph Kubera
Conductor: Ian Hobson
Orchestra/Ensemble: Sinfonia Varsovia
Number of Discs: 1
Recorded in: Stereo
Length: 1 Hours 19 Mins.
EAN: 0034061094326


Works on This Recording

1. National Park Suite by Michael S. Horwood
Conductor: Ian Hobson
Orchestra/Ensemble: Sinfonia Varsovia
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1990; USA
2. Symphony no 1 by Michael S. Horwood
Conductor: Ian Hobson
Orchestra/Ensemble: Sinfonia Varsovia
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1984; USA
3. Intravariations for Piano and Orchestra by Michael S. Horwood
Performer: Joseph Kubera (Piano)
Conductor: Ian Hobson
Orchestra/Ensemble: Sinfonia Varsovia
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1997; USA
4. Amusement Park Suite by Michael S. Horwood
Conductor: Ian Hobson
Orchestra/Ensemble: Sinfonia Varsovia
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1986; USA


Notes and Editorial Reviews

Canadian/American composer Michael S. Horwood really knows what he wants and how to get it, and this disc serves as the perfect introduction to his very enjoyable art. Horwood's range of reference is very wide. The opening of the National Park Suite, with its stentorian trombones, might recall the stark nature music that opens Mahler's Third Symphony--not because Horwood is imitating, but because he understands what such gestures mean. The Amusement Park Suite (each of its five movements is named for a different ride) closes with a brilliant "Roller Coaster" that's a close cousin to Honegger's Pacific 231 and Villa-Lobos' Bachianas Brasileiras No. 2. Again, the comparison is not to Horwood's disadvantage. The main tune is splendid, and I can only admire the fact that after the initial, very graphic wind-up and plunge, he busies himself with writing good music rather than remaining merely literal.

The two "serious" works on the program, Symphony No. 1 and Intravariations (for piano and orchestra), have all the same qualities of the lighter works: a deft orchestral touch and a real sense of purpose, an accuracy of expression and clarity of vision that let you know right away that you're in good hands. In the opening "fragmented" (Horwood's term) allegro of the symphony, he manages to emphasize its mosaic-like construction while at the same time imposing audible coherence on the arrangement and presentation of his material. "Fragmented" doesn't mean "formless". The second-movement Passacaglia funèbre offers the perfect contrast, while the perpetual motion finale provides an emotionally clinching conclusion. Though brief (less than 20 minutes), Horwood's symphony packs a lot of expression into a small space.

Intravariations also is extremely inventive. The principal theme is memorable, with a brooding quality that contrasts well with its later variations. Horwood clearly has a fine feeling for musical form, and he fastens onto elements in the theme that permit you both to enjoy each variation as it comes while also making audible connections among them. Pianist Joseph Kubera plays with confident bravua, and throughout this program Ian Hobson and the Sinfonia Varsovia seem to be enjoying themselves in giving each work a 100 percent effort. Albany's sonics are typically excellent, revealing all of the music's color and impact in a warm, natural acoustic space. Collectors take note: this is 80 minutes of terrific music by a composer of real personality and style. Try it. I feel certain you'll want more.
Artistic Quality: 10
Sound Quality: 10
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com

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AllMusic Review by Uncle Dave Lewis [-]
Canadian composer Michael S. Horwood started out in the field of new music leading an improvising ensemble called Convergence at the Humber College of Applied Arts and Technology, where Horwood taught until his retirement in 2003. Horwood's orchestral Amusement Park Suite (1986) represented a radical shift in his work, away from the highly technical and hyper-complex world of new music as it was known in 1986 and toward a more neo-Romantic idiom that nonetheless retained some vestiges of what he had done before. This work is included in Albany Records' disc devoted to Horwood, Suite and Serious, along with his National Park Suite (1990) and Symphony No. 1 (1984) performed by the Sinfonia Varsovia under Ian Hobson. The program is filled out by a set of variations for piano and orchestra, Intravariations (1997), with the solo part played by Joseph Kubera.

Amusement Park Suite (1986) is Horwood's signature piece and has been performed with considerable frequency both in Canada and the United States, largely by community orchestras and at children's concerts. In terms of reaching children and classical music-hating adults, Amusement Park Suite is great for that purpose, and though occasionally cinematic in tone it is nevertheless fresh sounding and very creative in an orchestral sense. The Symphony No. 1 is only slightly earlier and is dedicated to the memory of Idora Park in Youngstown, OH, which closed as the ink was drying on Horwood's manuscript. It is a little tougher than the Amusement Park Suite but not very much so -- some listeners might find it reminiscent of some mid-twentieth century symphonies such as those by Roger Sessions or Karl Amadeus Hartmann. National Park Suite finds Horwood back in his pictorial mode, converting national parks located in both Canada and the United States into music, as Ferde Grofé once did. Occasionally one finds Horwood's musical correspondences a little mystifying, such as the strident march figures used to represent Yellowstone, but everyone takes away from the national parks their own distinct impressions and Horwood deserves points for keeping true to himself. Intravariations are Bartókian in style and not bad, although this more "serious" effort seems a bit out of place in comparison to the other three works. As with most Albany releases featuring Hobson and the Sinfonia Varsovia of recent vintage, both the performance and recording are terrific.

Amusement Park Suite certainly has going for it a measure of accessibility, is well orchestrated, and its presence in the recorded repertoire is welcome; the other pieces are at least interesting. Albany's Suite and Serious will help stimulate performances of Horwood's music and allay the fears of prospective concertgoers faced with the prospect of an unfamiliar name on the program -- don't worry folks, this guy isn't going to bite you.

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