Great American Symphony
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The highpoint of this disc is Smith's sophisticated spoof of the great American symphonic form.

William Bolcom has said: "Curtis Curtis-Smith is one of the best-kept secrets in contemporary music. It is high time that listeners and musicians alike become acquainted with this music of passion and humor, intellectual agility and disarming emotional directness. I have long been its advocate to our best performers, who have played it enthusiastically worldwide, and I envy anyone who is becoming acquainted with it for the first time." C. Curtis-Smith (Curtis O.B. Curtis-Smith) was born in Walla Walla, Washington, studied at Whitman College, Northwestern University, the University of Illinois and at Tanglewood with Bruno Maderna. He has taught composition at the University of Michigan and is currently Professor of Music at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. His Great American Symphony was premiered in 1982 by the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra. The audacious title is as mischievous as it is ridiculous, and as American as a slick Madison Avenue advertising slogan. In the music, there are allusions to sundry aspects of Americana, from New Orleans jazz to acid rock; from gospel harmonies to boisterous marches to quaint southern folk hymns and Broadway show tunes. The composer writes: "On one level, the piece may be heard as fun and games entertainment, while on another it may be heard as an ironic and satirical commentary on the very tunes and styles it purports to trifle with. The piece has certainly enjoyed widely diverse reactions, from those finding it a masterpiece to those thinking it a travesty. Ross Lee Finney called it 'a controversial piece' and David Diamond, while finding the title a 'happy impertinence', admitted to lacking 'the requisite sense of humor about the title'. Another listener objected to my 'irreverent' treatment of The Star Spangled Banner in the last movement. I have never before, nor since, written such a brazen, outlandish, ill-behaved piece - yet GAS! is not malicious; it's more like a clown working things into his act."
C. Curtis-Smith, composer
Twelve Etudes
C. Curtis-Smith, piano

C. Curtis-Smith, composer
The Great American Symphony (GAS!)
Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra, Dennis Russell Davies, conductor

"...this is bold, ingenious and enjoyable music." (Fanfare)
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