Orchestral Music, Vol. II
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Colorful works by a forgotten American composer.

It is an honor for Albany Records to introduce you to the music of the disgracefully neglected American composer, Edward Collins. During the first part of the 20th century, when American music was struggling to find a distinctive voice and a place on concert programs, Chicago composers were blessed with a nurturing champion in the person of Frederick Stock, the second conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Among the gifted musicians who would benefit from Stock's fatherly care was Edward Joseph Collins. Between 1924 and 1943 his music was often heard at Chicago Symphony concerts with the composer himself appearing as soloist in his piano concerti or as guest conductor of his various Orchestral compositions. He was born in Joliet, Illinois to Irish-American parents. The youngest of eight musically talented brothers and sisters, he was giving piano recitals at the age of nine and at 14 became a pupil of the renowned pianist Rudolph Ganz. When Ganz moved to Berlin, Collins accompanied him where he studied with Max Bruch and Engelbert Humperdinck. He made his European debut in 1912 and in the fall returned to America, touring on a double bill with the great soprano Ernestine Schumann-Heink (Collins's sister, Kate Hoffman, was Schumann-Heink's accompanist for 35 years). As a result of the tour, Collins was engaged as the assistant conductor of the Century Opera Company in New York. In 1914, he became an assistant conductor at the Bayreuth Festival in Germany. During World War I, Collins served as a Lieutenant for the 88th Division in France. He entertained troops not only by performing but also by composing an operetta "Who Can Tell?" which General Pershing and President Wilson attended on opening night. After the Armistice, he returned to the concert stage. In 1919 he joined the faculty of the Chicago Musical College. In 1933 he moved his studio to the American Conservatory of Music and remained on their faculty until his untimely death in 1951. It is wonderful that we have musicians of the caliber of Marin Alsop and her great Orchestra giving Edward Collins's music the attention it deserves. Here is the music of a wonderful composer.
Edward Collins, composer
Mardi Gras
Concordia Orchestra, Marin Alsop, conductor

Edward Collins, composer
Concertpiece in A Minor for Piano & Orchestra
Concordia Orchestra, Marin Alsop, conductor, Leslie Stifelman, piano

Edward Collins, composer
Tragic Overture
Concordia Orchestra, Marin Alsop, conductor

Edward Collins, composer
Valse Elegante
Concordia Orchestra, Marin Alsop, conductor

"This disc is something special. Here, we have unfamiliar but immediately engaging music, superbly performed and very well recorded. Edward Collins's music will appeal to those who enjoy the more conservative vein of American composition that runs from the work of MacDowell, Griffes, Chadwick, and Beach through such later examples as Howard Hanson and Samuel Barber. Although Collins's output certainly did not change the course of American musical expression, even the most dyed-in-the-wool modernist can't fail to acknowledge the charm and unfailing skill of his efforts. Records like this don't come along as often as they should. Enthusiastically, even urgently, recommended." (American Record Guide)
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