3 (out of 3) Stars:
“Abravanel’s account [is[ highly recommendable… played with great conviction”
“[Thompson’s ‘Plow that Broke the Plains’ yields] colours glowing, resonantly atmospheric… most enjoyable”
“[Gould’s ‘Fall River Legend’ is] so vivid and atmospheric… astonishing recorded sound…. ‘Guaracha’ [is] irresistibly catchy”
“[Copland’s ‘El Salon México demonstrates] orchestral vitality and rhythmic power.”
– Penguin Guide
Four landmark recordings of American Masterpieces from the Golden Age of Stereo – released together for the first time!
The early age of stereo recordings yielded a bounty of American music for an international audience. Ferde Grofé’s symphonic tone poem “Grand Canyon Suite” was a favorite mid-century concert piece, and Westminster’s early stereo recording was a major hit for the label – and introduced many listeners to the Utah Symphony Orchestra, which conductor Maurice Abravanel had been building into one of the finest orchestras in America. Leopold Stokowski, one of the most bold and charismatic conductors of all time, brought tangible, visual life to Virgil Thomson’s suite from the soundtrack music for “The Plow that Broke the Plains”. Morton Gould, a versatile composer for film, radio, television, and the concert hall, was also a conductor with a gift for bringing substance to both serious and light music. His “Fall River Legend” and “Latin American Symphonette” are his two most popular orchestral works, the former a ballet score, the latter a still-popular crowd-pleaser. The most well-known composer featured on this program, Aaron Copland, became famous for his ballet scores – which enjoyed even more popularity as symphonic staples. His “El Salón México” receives an impactful recording from the Minneapolis Symphony conducted by one of the composer’s most ardent champions, Hungarian-born maestro Antal Doráti.