American Romantics II & III

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Martinus van Gelder, Paul Miersch, George Whitefield Chadwick, Felix Borowski, Edgar Stillman Kelley, Arthur Foote, Louis Lombard, Bernardus Boekelman, Stephen Collins Foster, Ethelbert Nevin, Arthur H Bird, Charles Wakefield Cadman

Genre:

Orchestral

Label: New Focus

Media Format: CD or Download

Mastering:

DDD

Catalogue Number: FCR166B

FCR166B. American Romantics II

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
The Lingac Boatsong Martinus van Gelder Composer
Gowanus Arts Ensemble
Reuben Blundell
Wiegenlied (Cradle Song) Paul Miersch Composer
Gowanus Arts Ensemble
Reuben Blundell
Intermezzo George Whitefield Chadwick Composer
Gowanus Arts Ensemble
Reuben Blundell
Suite Rococo Gowanus Arts Ensemble
Reuben Blundell
Felix Borowski Composer
2 Pieces Felix Borowski Composer
Reuben Blundell
Gowanus Arts Ensemble
Confluentia Reuben Blundell
Edgar Stillman Kelley Composer
Gowanus Arts Ensemble
Theme and Variations Gowanus Arts Ensemble
Arthur Foote Composer
Reuben Blundell
Élégie Gowanus Arts Ensemble
Reuben Blundell
Louis Lombard Composer
In der Einsamkeit (In Solitude) Reuben Blundell
Gowanus Arts Ensemble
Bernardus Boekelman Composer
My old Kentucky home Stephen Collins Foster Composer
Reuben Blundell
Gowanus Arts Ensemble
La guitare (Pierrot et Pierrete) Reuben Blundell
Ethelbert Nevin Composer
Gowanus Arts Ensemble
Old folks at home Stephen Collins Foster Composer
Reuben Blundell
Gowanus Arts Ensemble
Gavotte Gowanus Arts Ensemble
Arthur H Bird Composer
Reuben Blundell
To a Vanishing Place Reuben Blundell
Charles Wakefield Cadman Composer
Gowanus Arts Ensemble

Composer or Director: Gena Branscombe, Edward (Alexander) MacDowell, Carl Busch, David Stanley Smith, Ludwig Bonvin, Cecil Burleigh, Charles Wakefield Cadman

Genre:

Orchestral

Label: New Focus

Media Format: CD or Download

Mastering:

DDD

Catalogue Number: FCR166C

FCR166C. American Romantics III

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
A Memory Reuben Blundell
Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra
Gena Branscombe Composer
At an Old Trysting Place Edward (Alexander) MacDowell Composer
Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra
Reuben Blundell
The Song of Chibiabos Carl Busch Composer
Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra
Reuben Blundell
Prince Hal (An Overture) Reuben Blundell
Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra
David Stanley Smith Composer
Minnehaha’s Vision Reuben Blundell
Carl Busch Composer
Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra
Festzug (Festival Procession) Reuben Blundell
Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra
Ludwig Bonvin Composer
Rocky Mountain Sketches Cecil Burleigh Composer
Reuben Blundell
Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra
Thunderbird Suite Charles Wakefield Cadman Composer
Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra
Reuben Blundell
The Australian-born conductor Reuben Blundell continues to make splendid use of the Edwin A Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music at the Free Library of Philadelphia, whose holdings include thousands of familiar and neglected works. In 2016 New Focus Recordings released ‘American Romantics’ (10/16), the first result of Blundell’s exploration comprising little known music by late 19th- and early 20th-century composers born in the US or drawn to their adopted homeland. It is now followed by ‘American Romantics II’ (featuring, as on the initial release, the Brooklyn-based Gowanus Arts Ensemble) and ‘American Romantics III’ (with Blundell leading the Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra, a community ensemble in a suburb of Philadelphia).

The word ‘American’ in these discs’ titles must be taken with a dash of salt. Whatever its provenance, most of the music sounds distinctly European, with hints of Dvořák, Brahms, Tchaikovsky and any number of beloved Romantics. But what Blundell and colleagues offer is never less than appealing and accomplished, and certainly worthy of the occasional appearance on chamber and orchestral programmes.

‘American Romantics II’ begins with a favourite by the disc’s only household name, Stephen Foster: an arrangement of ‘Old Folks at Home’. The composers of the remaining pieces are remembered mostly for contributions to American academic and church life. Among them are such significant figures as George Whitefield Chadwick, represented by the charming Intermezzo, and Arthur Foote, whose bucolic Theme and Variations is an affecting and vibrant creation in the mould of Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings.

More signs of New World influences – Native American elements and folk tunes – can be heard on ‘American Romantics III’, especially in Charles Wakefield Cadman’s Thunderbird Suite and two richly coloured scores by Carl Busch, Minnehaha’s Vision and The Song of Chibiabos. For swashbuckling allure long before Korngold seized attention in Hollywood, there’s David Stanley Smith’s Prince Hal overture. And anyone wondering how deeply Wagner inspired others should hear Ludwig Bonvin’s Festzug.

Blundell leads shapely, animated performances with both ensembles. The 10 Gowanus string players bring bountiful finesse to the repertoire, while the Lansdowne Symphony, a group of volunteer musicians, face their assignments with fine commitment.

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