1 800 222 6872

Hovhaness: Symphony No. 48 'Vision of Andromeda'; Prelude and Quadruple Fugue; Soprano Saxophone Concerto / Greg Banaszak, saxophone; Schwarz

Album Summary

>Hovhaness, Alan : Prelude and Quadruple Fugue for orchestra (or strings & tympani), Op. 128
>Hovhaness, Alan : Concerto for soprano saxophone & strings, Op. 344
>Hovhaness, Alan : Symphony no 48 ("Vision of Andromeda"), Op. 355
Performer Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Alan Hovhaness's remarkable legacy of 67 symphonies and hundreds of other works stands as a testimony to one of the most individual musical voices of the 20th century. Written when Hovhaness was 25, the Prelude and Quadruple Fugue represents not only his mastery of counterpoint but in its sweeping climactic form is also one of his most exciting works. The Soprano Saxophone Concerto is like a melodic tone poem or aria, and considered the most Romantic concerto Hovhaness ever wrote. "Inspired by the wonders and mysteries of astronomy" and appearing here in its première recording, the Symphony No. 48 'Vision of Andromeda' expresses the vastness of this galaxy through giant melodies, shimmering orchestral colors and a transcendent apotheosis.

American Record Guide, July/August 2015
The symphony (1982) is typical Hovhaness, with meditative sections, wonderful string themes, nice wind solos, and so on. The last movement is twice marked Maestoso (and once "solemn"), and it has plenty of gorgeous majesty. The symphony takes up about 30 minutes of the time here, and if you already like Hovhaness you will surely like it. Alan Hovhaness lived from 1911 to 2000, and as the century wore on he came close to being the only living composer whose music was always worth hearing - and he never sounded like anyone else. Make some room on your Hovhaness shelf.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Eastern Music Festival, Dana Auditorium, Guilford Colle (07/03/2013-07/07/2013).



Reviews

Heavenly Vision
Once you find yourself under the spell of Alan Hovhaness, itís impossible to shake free. The composerís music is imbued with a profound mystical dimension. You either buy into it or you donít get it. This new Naxos disc is a prime example. The well played Soprano Saxophone Concerto is colorful, lyrical and easygoing. The Prelude and Quadruple Fugue is quite a different matter. The contrapuntal mastery contained within its compact time scheme is impressive, even remarkable when one considers its 1936 origin. Itís a marvelous piece of writing. This marks Maestro Schwartzís second traversal. The focal point of this release is the Symphony No. 48, a cosmic inspired, ambitious 4 movement work nearly 30 minutes in duration. It dates from 1982. This represents its premiere recording. The iconoclastic synthesis of Eastern and Western notions of color, texture, melody, harmony and counterpoint, the very DNA of the composerís style, is powerful throughout with a special nod to the participation of wind and brass. The magnificent Andante maestoso espressivo finale reveals the composer at full vigor with no discernable decline in confidence at this late stage in his career. Maestro Schwarz, a tested champion of the composer, makes the most of these compositions. The excellent Eastern Music Festival Orchestra is responsive and sympathetic. The transparent sonics generate plenty of depth and impact in the more heavily scored passages.
Submitted on 03/20/15 by Allen Cohen 
Visionary symphony, indeed
Gerard Schwarz has long been a supporter of Alan Hovhaness, and this release is just the latest in several Schwarz has done of his music. The album opens with the Prelude and Quadruple Fugue, Op. 128, a work that's been recorded many times. This particular reading is adequate, but a little slow and sedate for my taste.

But then things take a turn for the better. The Concerto for Soprano Saxophone and Strings is a much more successful performance. Here the Easter Music Festival Orchestra plays with fluidity and warmth that works especially well in the choral passages. Saxophonist Greg Banaszak plays with a rich, mellow sound, making the soprano sax sound almost other-worldly at times.

I keep hoping that someday we'll have a complete traversal of Hovhaness' 67 symphonies. Symphony No. 48 "Vision of Andromeda" receives its world premiere performance with this release, so I guess we're a little closer.

The work gets its name (and inspiration) from the Andromeda galaxy. Like it, the symphony seems to swirl around in a gauzy blur. All the hallmarks of Hovhaness are present; the gorgeous original hymn-tunes, contrapuntal passages, the tinkling percussion, the exotic but tonal harmonic motion. It all adds up to a symphony that mystical rather than formal -- simply being instead of playing out dramas. In other words, a typical Hovhaness symphony.

As always, Schwarz delivers sympathetic and insightful readings. And despite my quibbles about the Prelude and Quadruple Fugue, on the whole I think this album presents Hovhaness' music in all its unique beauty.

I might not recommend this disc for someone who's just starting with Hovhaness ("Mysterious Mountain" is best for that). But for those who have fallen in love with Hovhaness' music, this disc is a must have.

Submitted on 05/19/15 by RGraves321 
Login or Create an Account to write a review
 

Also Purchased

Works Details

>Hovhaness, Alan : Prelude and Quadruple Fugue for orchestra (or strings & tympani), Op. 128
  • Conductor: Gerard Schwarz
  • Ensemble: Eastern Music Festival Orchestra
  • Notes: Eastern Music Festival, Dana Auditorium, Guilford College, Greensboro, NC (07/03/2013-07/07/2013)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1936-1954

>Hovhaness, Alan : Concerto for soprano saxophone & strings, Op. 344
  • Performer: Greg Banaszak (Saxophone)
  • Conductor: Gerard Schwarz
  • Notes: Eastern Music Festival, Dana Auditorium, Guilford College, Greensboro, NC (07/03/2013-07/07/2013)
  • Running Time: 18 min. 54 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1980

>Hovhaness, Alan : Symphony no 48 ("Vision of Andromeda"), Op. 355
  • Conductor: Gerard Schwarz
  • Notes: Eastern Music Festival, Dana Auditorium, Guilford College, Greensboro, NC (07/03/2013-07/07/2013)
  • Running Time: 10 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1981