North Carolina Composers
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Jazzy, all-American works.

This recording features the St. Stephens Chamber Orchestra performing works by North Carolina composers. Central to the recording is Hunter Johnson's Letter to the World. Hunter Johnson (b. 1906, Benson, North Carolina) composed extensively for piano, various chamber ensembles and orchestra. He is perhaps best known for his much-performed piano sonata and two ballets commissioned by Martha Graham, each of which has had hundreds of performances worldwide by the Graham Dance Company. Of the many artistic homages that have been paid to the spirit and poetry of Emily Dickinson, one of the finest tributes is Martha Graham and Hunter Johnson's collaboration, Letter to the World. Premiered in1940, this synthesis of dance, music and poetry soon became an established modern dance classic. The music (and dance) describe the legend of Emily Dickinson and the world of her imagination rather than the actual facts of her real life. Other works on the recording include Robert Ward's Concertino for Strings; Walter Ross's Mosaics; and Richard Rendleman's Concertino for Tenor Saxophone and Orchestra.
Contents:
Hunter Johnson, composer
Letter to the World, Suite for Orchestra
St. Stephen's Chamber Orchestra, Lorenzo Muti, conductor


Richard Rendleman, composer
Concertino for Tenor Saxophone and Orchestra
St. Stephen's Chamber Orchestra, Lorenzo Muti, conductor, James Houlik, saxophone


Walter Ross, composer
Mosaics - Piano Concerto
St. Stephen's Chamber Orchestra, Lorenzo Muti, conductor, Marjorie Mitchell, piano


Robert Ward, composer
Concertino for Strings
St. Stephen's Chamber Orchestra, Lorenzo Muti, conductor

Review:
"Who says they don't write good music anymore? The spine on the jewel box says The North Carolinians; these North Carolinian composers give us some of the best neo-Romantic 20th-century American music on the market. Robert Ward's Concertino for Strings and Johnson's Letter to the World are the most congenial works here; fans of Roy Harris will go absolutely ape for the Johnson piece. Walter Ross' Mosaics is an effervescent piano romp for orchestra; Richard Rendleman's Concertino for Tenor Sax and Orchestra is full of cabaret high spirits, though is no less consequential because of it. Inside and out, excellent." Classical Pulse
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