• Re: Naxos Jewish Music Series: new issues

    From gggg gggg@21:1/5 to Alan Cooper on Wed Mar 29 22:50:46 2023
    On Tuesday, April 27, 2004 at 3:32:58 PM UTC-7, Alan Cooper wrote:
    I've now listened to the two latest issues in the ongoing Naxos /
    Milken Archives recordings in the American Jewish Music series, which
    feature works by Ernst Toch and Samuel Adler, respectively.
    The new Toch CD is definitely a worthwhile acquisition. The disc
    includes a cantata on the Passover theme and the Symphony #5. The
    cantata is written in a more conservative post-romantic style than
    seems usual for Koch, but the writing for voice (both choral and solo
    vocal) is lovely. The performance, by soloists with the CzPO and the
    CzPO Chorus conducted by Gerard Schwarz, sounds excellent. There is
    some interspersed spoken narration, read by Theodore Bikel, that
    sounds rather quaint, but it does not impede enjoyment of the music.
    The Symphony #5 is a marvelous work--beautiful, colorful, and
    distinctive. I've liked the piece since I first heard it years ago in
    a game but scrappy Louisvile performance. I think it's now the only
    Toch symphony to have multiple versions in print, and it merits them
    (and more). I did not collect the Francis set of Toch Symphonies, so
    I would welcome a comparison between that performance and the new one (Seattle Symphony cond, by Gerard Schwarz), which sounds fine to me.
    The Samuel Adler compilation is another kettle of fish. I know that
    his reputation is high as a composer of liturgical music for the
    synagogue, but nothing on the new disc struck me as first-rate. He
    seems to vacillate between a conservative style for folk-song settings
    and liturgical compositions, and a more self-consciously "modern"
    style in works for the concert hall. There's nothing wrong with that
    in principle, if only the music were memorable, Unfortunately, the conservative works barely held my interest, and the modern stuff
    seemed to be a collection of tired gestures. I kept wondering, where
    have I heard that before? Anyway, if this is supposed to show Adler
    at his best, I'm not impressed. I gave the disc away after a couple
    of hearings.

    Upcoming radio program featuring Adler:


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