Chamber & Orchestral Music
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Lovely romantic works by the late maestro.

Howard Hanson (1896-1981) was a distinguished American composer, educator and preeminent advocate of American music. He belonged to that select group of American composers born in the last decade of the nineteenth century - Walter Piston, Roger Sessions, Randall Thompson, Roy Harris, Virgil Thomson and Aaron Copland - who personified the emergence of American classical music as a distinctly national, as opposed to European, cultural force to be taken seriously. He was the leading practitioner of American musical Romanticism, much in the tradition of Jean Sibelius, Edvard Grieg and Carl Nielsen in Scandinavia. Hanson dedicated his professional life to the encouragement, creation and preservation of beauty in music, believing it to be an art form possessing unique power to ennoble both performer and listener, and, by extension, mankind. Throughout his career, Hanson never departed from his cherished ideals of beauty, clarity and simplicity of utterance and his conviction that musicians and audiences would respond openly to each other on this basis. He abhorred ugliness in music, dismissed as worthless intellectual abstraction for its own sake, and fought what he perceived to be the growing alienation between composer and audience. A lifetime of composition reflects this conviction, as did his lengthy tenure as a teacher and administrator.
Howard Hanson, composer
Concerto for Organ, Harp and String Orchestra
David Craighead, organ, Eileen Malone, harp, Rochester Chamber Orchestra, David Fetler, conductor

Howard Hanson, composer
Nymphs and Satyr Ballet suite
Rochester Chamber Orchestra, David Fetler, conductor

Howard Hanson, composer
Concerto da Camera in C for Piano and String Quartet
Brian Preston, piano, Ian Swenson, Calvin Wiersma, violin, Maria Lambros, viola, Elizabeth Anderson, cello

Howard Hanson, composer
Two Yuletide Pieces for Piano
Brian Preston, piano

Howard Hanson, composer
Four Pieces for Chorus
Roberts Wesleyan College Chorale, Theodore Sipes, baritone, Barbara Harbach, organ, Robert Shewan, conductor

"I've blown hot and cold over his [Hanson's] music for years precisely because the technique, while masterful, is so beside the point of the music's appeal. ...When I fail to connect, it's usually because I find him too genteel or, more rarely, that the technique fails to realize the implication of the musical ideas....Still, the individual work matters most, and the disc presents several of great beauty from many periods of Hanson's career....The choral music, on the other hand, is pure joy....I first heard Hanson's Psalm 8 in the 60s sung by, believe it or not, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir...This is a major Hanson work, too seldom heard, one that managed to linger in my musical memory for 30 years.: (Steve Schwartz Review)