Orchestral Works
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World premiere recordings that add to our knowledge of early 20th Century American music.

The reasonably experienced listener encountering the music of Louis Gruenberg for the first time is likely at various moments to receive a general impression of artistic kinship with such composers as Szymanowski and Messiaen. Those with a more specialized knowledge of 20th century music may hear a certain affinity with another long neglected creative figure, Igor Markevitch. Better known as a conductor, Markevitch (1912-1983) was widely regarded in the 1930s, by no lesser judges than Bartok and Milhaud, as the outstanding composer of his generation. Markevitch was once described as a "dry mystic", a phrase that might also be used to describe Gruenberg's music. Brought to the United States when he was two, Gruenberg was essentially an American phenomenon. He did do some studying (with Busoni and Koch) and then some teaching and piano-playing in Europe between 1903 and 1919, and one of his most successful dramatic works, The Emperor Jones, premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in 1933, was to achieve a revival in Rome in 1950. But most of his career was spent in the United States, where he was one of the founders of the League of Composers in 1923 and headed the composition department at Chicago Musical College from 1933 to 1936, afterwards moving to California. More pertinently, he devoted much attention to American musical genres, publishing four volumes of spiritual harmonizations, and deriving substantial inspiration from jazz for The Daniel Jazz and several other works. The three works recorded here show relatively little trace of these American resources, fitting for the most part into a broadly European musical tradition that he shared with many compatriots of his generation.
Louis Gruenberg, composer
Symphony No. 2
Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Paul Freeman, conductor

Louis Gruenberg, composer
Serenade to a Beauteous Lady (Marcia)
Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Paul Freeman, conductor

Louis Gruenberg, composer
The Enchanted Isle
Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Paul Freeman, conductor

"Romantic, dramatic and powerful, this music's lush collision of European sonority and American boldness does not deserve to be ignored." (Philadelphia Daily News)

"...too intriguing to be ignored..." (Fanfare)
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