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Pulitzer Prize-winning Works Schuman, Sowerby & Copland

Audio Samples

>Schuman, William : A Free Song, for chorus, baritone soloist & orchestra
>Copland, Aaron : Appalachian Spring, ballet for 13 instruments
>Sowerby, Leo : The Canticle of the Sun, cantata for chorus & orchestra

Album Summary

>Schuman, William : A Free Song, for chorus, baritone soloist & orchestra
>Copland, Aaron : Appalachian Spring, ballet for 13 instruments
>Sowerby, Leo : The Canticle of the Sun, cantata for chorus & orchestra
Performer Conductor Ensemble
  • >
Composers

Notes & Reviews:

Listen as the Chicago Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus perform three Pulitzer Prize winning pieces from composers William Schuman, Aaron Copland and Leo Sowerby. Under the direction of conductor Carlos Kalmar and Chorus Director, Christopher Bell, this orchestra delivers a performance that is worthy of a Pulitzer as well.

"Most "concept" recordings are more interesting theoretically than they are audibly entertaining. This is one of the rare exceptions. All three of these works won Pulitzer Prizes in the 1940s. Whether or not they deserved them you can judge for yourself, but that's not really the point. This disc restores two important, neglected choral works to the modern catalog, and if the world isn't aching for another version of Appalachian Spring, it not only makes good sense purely as a listening experience, coming between the two choral pieces, but it's also a piece of logical programming. The performance is very good too... Cedille's sonics are uniformly excellent, warm and very well balanced, particularly in the choral works. An impressive and important release." -Classics Today (10/10)

Audiophile Audition
The Sowerby and Schuman pieces are, amazingly, first recordings, and the wide soundstage and spectacular depth and presence of the orchestra are fitting compliments to two deserving pieces. If Appalachian Spring doesn't quite live up to expectations it in no way diminishes the importance of this release. Let's pray that Cedille continues the efforts.

Fanfare
this is a warm, sympathetic, and polished rendition of the score, worthy of consideration alongside the best of the many other recorded performances.

Ritmo
Versions of the works it contains are well made, well it should be noted that two of the works (those of Schuman and Sowerby) enjoy this record of his first ever recording. This is the first I've heard of Carlos Kalmar and, of course, had not heard any of his works, but the finding that emerges from this work is quite positive. Interestingly disk would have won a lot with pictures.

The Classical Review
The surprise of this enormously rewarding disc from Chicago's Cedille Records was that it hadn't been done before. The pleasure of it was that it was carried off with such aplomb. ... Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus under Carlos Kalmar proved ardent and eloquent advocates of all three works. Cedille's live recording perfectly framed the obvious adrenalin of the performances to memorable effect.

Gramophone
Chicago's Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus make an eloquent case for music by William Schuman and Leo Sowerby that strives to capture American enthusiasm and energy... The performance of Appalachian Spring is more vital... the sound is brilliant throughout.

Fanfare
With performances of total involvement and commitment, magnificently recorded in concert at the Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus's new Frank Gehry-designed home in Chicago's Millenium Park... this release is monumental in every sense. My first Want List selection is hereby spoken for... making this disc indispensable are the first recordings of the Schuman and the Sowerby.

Fanfare
... two important premiere recordings, A Free Song by William Schuman and Leo Sowerby's The Canticle of the Sun, highlight the collection of Pulitzer Prize-winning works performed by Carlos Kalmar and the Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus.

ClassicsToday.com
Cedille's sonics are uniformly excellent, warm and very well balanced, particularly in the choral works. An impressive and important release.

NewMusicBox
... round up a chorus and orchestra and head down to Washington, D.C. to perform it live outside of the nation's Capitol; those folks should listen to it, too!

The Buffalo News
A fascinating idea and unintentionally a revealing one. There are three works here that all won Pulitzer Prizes for musical composition in the '40s - Schuman's "A Free Song" for chorus and orchestra, a 1943 winner based on Whitman texts but very much redolent of war; Aaron Copland's original 13-instrument version of his "Appalachian Spring," which won the Pulitzer in 1945; and Leo Sowerby's 1946 winner "The Canticle of the Sun" for orchestra and chorus. Except for Copland's living masterpiece - one of the greatest and most enduring pieces of American music from the 20th century - this is interesting music of its time, occasionally haunting in the case of Schuman but more an effective exhibit in a sonic museum than a vital recording of living music.

Chicago Tribune
This first-ever recording to include the Grant Park Chorus gathers three significant American orchestral works from the 1940s that won the first Pulitzer Prizes ever awarded in music.

Classical Voice of North Carolina
This project was the conductor's concept and these performances are superb. The orchestra exhibits excellent ensemble and precision.

The Classical Review
Kalmar's insistent pushing of the orchestra has irresistible dramatic intensity, but it also has a tendency to leave the chorus sounding as if it is being pulled along in its wake. Even so, under their northern Irish director, Christopher Bell, the Grant Park Chorus throughout move between hypnotic luminosity, passionate intensity and anthemic ebullience with an easy but precisely pitched eloquence. Heard here in its live context, in the Harris Theater in Chicago's Millennium Park, the tremendous thrust and weight of both instrumental and vocal forces justifies itself by lending the work an emphatic impulse and immediacy that captures and compels the ear.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Millennium Park, Ch (06/25/2010-06/26/2010).



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Works Details

>Schuman, William : A Free Song, for chorus, baritone soloist & orchestra
  • Performer: Ryan Cox
  • Conductor: Carlos Kalmar
  • Running Time: 7 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1942

>Copland, Aaron : Appalachian Spring, ballet for 13 instruments
  • Conductor: Carlos Kalmar
  • Running Time: 26 min. 23 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Ballet
  • Written: 1943-1944

>Sowerby, Leo : The Canticle of the Sun, cantata for chorus & orchestra
  • Conductor: Carlos Kalmar
  • Running Time: 30 min. 12 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 1944