Violin Concerto No. 2, Symphony No. 4
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Premier recording of Creston's Symphony No. 4, Violin Concerto and Janus.

Ray Bono writes in his program notes: "Fiercely independent. Self Reliant. Self-disciplined. Such descriptions invariably surface in accounts of Paul Creston's life. More emphatic is the assertion that, excluding keyboard lessons, he was "entirely self-taught" in music. And, in fact, the short, affable Italian-American was in many ways a supremely self-made man, even down to his name. Born on October 10, 1906 in Manhattan to an impoverished couple from Sicily, he was christened Giuseppe Guttovergi (the family name would later be recast as Guttoveggio). In childhood he was also called Joseph but by 15 had been dubbed Cress by his friends, after Crespino, the role he played in a high-school staging of Goldoni's comedy, The Fan. Before long, he reworked this Cress into a fuller, solidly American-sounding name - and exit Giuseppe-Joseph-Guttovergi-Guttoveggio; enter Paul Creston. He started composing at the age of eight, soon after his parents, recognizing his musical ability, managed to get him a piano and a teacher. Within a few years, he was capable enough to substitute for the teacher when the man was ill - and canny enough to deem the man musically incompetent. He moved on to better piano teachers, took organ lessons too and plunged into a ferocious self-directed study of the works of Bach, Rameau, Scarlatti, Rimsky-Korsakov, Chopin, Debussy and Ravel. These masters of form, harmony and color, he would always maintain, were his true teachers; from them alone did he learn composing and orchestration. From the onset of the Great Depression, when he wasn't trying to sell insurance or real estate, Creston was accompanying singers as a Musicians Emergency Fund member - and pondering a career as a writer. Or a concert pianist. Or a composer. After a favorable response to a set of dances he wrote for solo piano in 1932, and to his incidental music for a theater piece - and encouraged by composer and concert organizer Henry Cowell, he sat down, took stock of his talents and decided to concentrate seriously on composition. His early modest pieces were successful enough to earn him a positive mention in Aaron Copland's 1936 article about "America's young men of merit" (although Copland grouped him with rising composers whose work tended to be "somewhat" abstract"). Larger works followed, and more attention. He received two successive Guggenheim fellowships. And his Symphony No. 1, debuting in 1941, won the New York Music Critics' Circle Award and later took first prize in an international competition in Paris. The three orchestral works on this disc - a symphony, a concerto and what amounts to a musical diptych - are from Creston's finest period. Never before recorded for commercial release, they exemplify his talent for uniting lyricism with propulsiveness to make a considerable emotional impact."
Paul Creston, composer
Janus,op. 77
Albany Symphony Orchestra, David Alan Miller, conductor

Paul Creston, composer
Concerto No. 2 for Violin and Orchestra, op. 78
Albany Symphony Orchestra, David Alan Miller, conductor, Gregory Fulkerson, violin

Paul Creston, composer
Symphony No. 4
Albany Symphony Orchestra, David Alan Miller, conductor

"This...fills a much-needed gap in this under-recorded canon, and I frankly love it." (American Record Guide)

"Creston aficionados will certainly consider this an important release..." (Fanfare)
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