American Classics - Creston: Symphonies No 1-3 / Kuchar

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It's good to see Paul Creston's music making a bit of a comeback. Neeme Järvi recorded the Second Symphony for Chandos, and Gerard Schwarz did the Third (and much else besides) for Delos, so this latest entry in Naxos' American Music Series faces some stiff competition. Fortunately, the performances are excellent and hold their own without qualification. Kuchar and his orchestra already have recorded a first-rate Prokofiev symphony cycle for Naxos, and are working on Martinu as well, so it's no surprise that Creston fits their musical profile. New to CD is the zippy First Symphony, a typically American-sounding neo-classical piece in four brief movements variously marked "With Majesty", "With Humor", "With Serenity", and "With Gaiety". So they are, and so they sound.

The brilliant "song and dance" Second Symphony gets a particularly lively performance here: it's a truly original masterpiece in two movements that should be played and enjoyed at least as often as, say, the Third Symphonies of Copland, Harris, or Schuman. Inspired by episodes in the life of Christ (birth, crucifixion, and resurrection), the Third Symphony, entitled "Three Mysteries", combines Creston's love of Gregorian chant with his invigorating sense of rhythm. Its religious inspiration lends the music a calm solemnity that never becomes saccharine or insincere. Hopefully Naxos will get around to the remaining symphonies and other orchestral works. This is really good stuff, nicely recorded too.
--David Hurwitz,

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: 8559034

  • UPC: 636943903421

  • Label: Naxos

  • Composer: Paul Creston

  • Conductor: Theodore Kuchar

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Ukrainian National Symphony Orchestra