C0021. GERARD SCHWARZ Cond. Seattle S.O.: Musical Fantasies of Griffes & Taylor, incl. Through the Looking Glass, Nos 1-5, complete; The Pleasure-Dome of Kubla Khan; Roman Sketches; Suite for piano, Op. 7, #1,; The White Peacock; Poem, for flute & orchestra; 3 Tone-Pictures, arranged for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass & piano. Delos 3099, Recorded 1990, Seattle Opera House.
Very long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 013491309927
“Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony recorded a great deal of music, originally for Delos, now on Naxos. Much of the discography, while good, was ephemeral - yet another disc of standard repertoire - but some of it was really important: symphonies by Hanson, Piston, and Diamond, for example, and this disc. No one much cares today about music critic/composer Deems Taylor’s often charming but conservative music, but his suite ‘Through the Looking Glass’, based on ALICE IN WONDERLAND, really is worth hearing. If you know John Alden Carpenter’s ADVENTURES IN A PERAMBULATOR then you know what to expect: good tunes, colorful scoring, and a nice, light touch.
The Griffes pieces are famous, of course, as the works of one of America’s great ‘might have been’ composers. The ‘Poem for Flute and Orchestra’ is the best known, followed by the exotic ‘Pleasure Dome of Kubla Khan’ and ‘The White Peacock’. These evocative miniatures all point to a major talent, a life tragically cut short at the age of 36. Both here and in the Taylor work the performances are uniformly splendid: extremely well played, and just about perfectly conducted regarding tempo, texture, and balance. Scott Goff plays the flute solo in the Poem with finesse and lovely tone.
A great disc for collectors of turn-of-the-(20th)-century Americana.
- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com