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John Knowles Paine (1839-1906): Symphony No. 2, 'In the Spring' / Ulster Orchestra; Falletta

Album Summary

>Paine, John Knowles : Symphony no 2 in A major ("In the Spring"), Op. 34
>Paine, John Knowles : Prelude to Oedipus tyrannus, Op. 35
>Paine, John Knowles : Poseidon and Amphitrite, An Ocean Fantasy, Op. 44
Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The late 19th century witnessed unprecedented musical growth in the United States, and it is impossible to imagine a Copland, an Ives or even a Gershwin without the pioneering groundwork of the 'Boston Six', of whom John Knowles Paine was the senior member. Favorite among his own works, Paine's Second Symphony was described on its New York premie`re as "a serious, important and totally beautiful work." His Prelude to the tragic play Oedipus Tyrannus was an immediate hit, while An Ocean Fantasy was his last orchestral piece. The first of this set of two volumes of Paine's complete published orchestral works is available on 8.559747.

American Record Guide, July/August 2015
The performances by the Ulster Orchestra are quite good - convincing and enjoyable. The recording itself is clear and well balanced.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Ulster Hall, Belfast, UK (03/01/2014-03/02/2014).



Reviews

"Departure of Winter"
American John Knowles Paine (1839-1906) is a name not readily known to most music listeners. In his day, Paine was a well respected composer and theoretician. His second symphony was composed just as a purely American style of classical composition was about to emerge. Itís nearly 48 minutes long, cast in the traditional 4 movements each annotated with a descriptive title evoking the myriad sensations spurred by the arrival of Spring. The work is clearly indebted to contemporary European models. The influences are plentiful and obvious. On the whole, there is nothing particularly inspired or innovative here. Still there is a certain level of exuberance and ingenuity not to mention historical significance contained within its pages making it well worth an occasional listen. The 2 succinct fillers, the Prelude to Oedipus Tyrannus and Poseidon and Amphitrite, are substantial and reflect a heightened maturity. The inclusion of these 2 works makes this release a better bet than the Mehta/NYP version of the Second Symphony, as good as that pioneering recording is. Maestro Falletta and the Ulster Orchestra make the most of all three compositions. One should applaud and support these continuing efforts to resuscitate neglected repertory regardless if every attempt is a home run or not. Producer Tim Handley and his colleagues turn in a beautifully detailed, three dimensional sound image.


Submitted on 04/10/15 by Allen Cohen 
Unjustly neglected Romantic music
John Knowles Paine (1839-1906) was the first American-born composer to achieve fame for large-scale orchestral music. The Second New England School of composers, a.k.a. the New England Classicists, who were sometimes called the Boston Six, comprised Paine, the eldest, Arthur Foote (1853-1937), George Chadwick (1854-1931), Amy Beach (1867-1944), Edward MacDowell (1861-1908), and Horatio Parker (1863-1919). Others associated with the group include Edgar Stillman Kelley (1857-1944), George Whiting (1861-1944), and Arthur Whiting (1861-1936). These composers created the first significant body of concert music in the United States.
Most of these composers, except perhaps for Amy Beach, and their works are probably unfamiliar to contemporary concert-goers. Explanations usually offered include changes in taste, twentieth-century rejection of Romantic-era composers and their works, and an ever-present demand for new music. The good news for lovers of Romantic-era music is that some CD and DVD companies are bringing it back! Mahler's music was ignored after his death in 1911 until Maestro Leonard Bernstein championed its return to CDs, DVDs, and concert halls in the 1960s. Devotees of Romantic-era music likewise owe much to such enterprising CD companies as Albany, Bridge, Chandos, Naxos, and Olympia, who have the courage to market CDs and DVDs of music of these unjustly neglected composers.
This new CD of music by Paine is a most welcome addition to the growing list. It is labeled Vol. 2 and offers his Second Symphony, the Prelude 'Oedipus Tyrannus,' Op. 35, and the Ocean Fantasy on 'Poseidon and Amphitrite,' Op. 44. Naxos' Vol. 1 in the series (8.559747), issued in 2013, contains Paine's First Symphony, his Overture to Shakespeare's 'As You Like It,' and music for Shakespeare's 'The Tempest.'
If you already have Vol.1 you will need no urging from me to buy Vol.2. Lovers of Romantic-era music who havenít yet explored Paine's music are strongly encouraged to do so. The Ulster Orchestra plays splendidly under JoAnn Falletta's talented directorship. The recorded sound on my stereo is excellent, and Frank K. DeWald's program notes are very informative.
Ted Wilks
Submitted on 04/12/15 by Ted Wilks 
American romantic

John Knowles Paine was one of the first American composers to break onto the international scene. Along with other members of the "Boston Six" (Amy Beach, Arthur Foote, Edward MacDowell, George Chadwick, and Horatio Parker), he well-known in Europe as well as the U.S.

Paine's Symphony No. 2 in a major, op. 34 shows why his music was so well-regarded abroad. Although subtitled "In the Spring," this 1879 work isn't a strictly programmatic work. Instead of painting a detailed picture, or telling a story, the music simply presents impressions of what the movements claim to be about (Awakening of Nature, May-Night Fantasy, etc.)

The work reminds me quite strongly of Mendelssohn and Schumann symphonies. The orchestration is straight-forward like Mendelssohn's, while the harmonic progressions owe more to Schumann with their lushness (and seem to echo Stephen Foster in places).

Also included are two shorter orchestral works: The Prelude to "Oedipus Tyrannus" and "Poseidon and Amphitrite." The latter, subtitled "An Ocean Fantasy" evokes the motion of the sea without being obvious about it.

JoAnn Falletta leads the Ulster Orchestra in straightforward no-nonsense performances of these works. Paine's symphony may not be as full-blooded as those of Brahms, but I think it holds up well by comparison. An important addition to the collection of American repertoire recordings.

Submitted on 08/24/15 by RGraves321 
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Works Details

>Paine, John Knowles : Symphony no 2 in A major ("In the Spring"), Op. 34
  • Conductor: JoAnn Falletta
  • Ensemble: Ulster Orchestra
  • Notes: Ulster Hall, Belfast, UK (03/01/2014-03/02/2014)
  • Running Time: 47 min. 56 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1879

>Paine, John Knowles : Prelude to Oedipus tyrannus, Op. 35
  • Conductor: JoAnn Falletta
  • Notes: Ulster Hall, Belfast, UK (03/01/2014-03/02/2014)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 51 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1880-1881

>Paine, John Knowles : Poseidon and Amphitrite, An Ocean Fantasy, Op. 44
  • Conductor: JoAnn Falletta
  • Notes: Ulster Hall, Belfast, UK (03/01/2014-03/02/2014)
  • Running Time: 12 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic