Symphonies 5 & 6
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"An absolute must!" says it all.

First: have you noticed how certain works, musical or visual, have an uncanny knack for perfectly evoking the period when they were created? That's one of the distinguishing features of the wonderful music on this new disc. The Symphony No. 6 sounds exactly like the late 1940's, much the same way that classic post-war movies conjure that period. In fact, the Symphony No.6 might be the most cinematic of all of Gillis' works in that form, with a wonderful sense of tension in the first movement that would be right at home on the soundtrack of The Big Sleep or This Gun for Hire. The second movement is full of excitement, like a modern analog to the scherzo of the Mendelssohn Scotch Symphony. The bluesiness of the third movement recalls Gershwin at his most relaxed, and the boisterous final movement with its cushy harmonies proves that Gillis had a lot in common with the great Broadway and Hollywood arrangers. The Symphony No.5 is probably the most "serious" of his symphonic output, reflecting the mood of the immediate postwar era. This contains one of his most beautiful slow movements (and if you're an ongoing fan of this series, you know how effective his quiet moments are); the keening sense of nostalgia often bears a striking resemblance to Bernard Herrmann (think in terms of his scores for The Devil and Daniel Webster or The Ghost and Mrs. Muir). The strictly "fun" piece of the collection is the Paul Bunyan Overture, full of rollicking spirits but, again, with a more contemplative sound. All of this is performed with the greatest enthusiasm and color by the Sinfonia Varsovia and Ian Hobson. An absolute must!
Don Gillis, composer
Paul Bunyan: an Overture to a Legend
Sinfonia Varsovia, Ian Hobson, conductor

Don Gillis, composer
Symphony No. 6
Sinfonia Varsovia, Ian Hobson, conductor

Don Gillis, composer
Symphony No. 5
Sinfonia Varsovia, Ian Hobson, conductor

"Albany Records is doing the American music-loving public a favor by making this composer's music available...." (Public Radio East)

"Here is a celebration of one of this country's most original and innovative composers. ...I'm pleased to commend to your attention this new release that all collectors of Americana will want to add to their shelf." (American Record Guide)
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