Hovhaness, Milhaud, Copland, Serebrier: Symphonies

Leopold Stokowski / Houston Symphony Orchestra / NBC Symphony Orchestra

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Hovhaness, Milhaud, Copland, Serebrier: Symphonies Review

by James Leonard

This is a disc that should appeal to the listener with a hearty appetite for modernist symphonies, a healthy appreciation for world-premiere recordings, and a wholesome affection for the one, the only, the unique, the irreplaceable Leopold Stokowski. Three works, the first symphonies of Alan Hovhaness and Darius Milhaud, and Aaron Copland's Second Symphony, were recorded with the NBC Symphony in 1942, 1943, and 1944, respectively, while the fourth, the First Symphony by Stokowski protégée José Serebrier, was recorded with the Houston Symphony in 1957. Guild's expert remasterings make the sound as clear and colorful as humanly possible. Typically, Stokowski elicits edge-of-the-chair playing from both orchestras and delivers characteristically high-intensity performances of each work. Hovhaness' First sounds deeply heartfelt, Milhaud's First lightly insouciant, Copland's Second robustly powerful, and Serebrier's First surprisingly successful.

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