The Naxos
Composer of the Month

In July, Naxos released its recording of Roy Harris’s Symphonies 3 and 4, part of a complete cycle of the composer’s symphonies.  

Roy HARRIS: Symphony No. 3 and No. 4, “Folk Song Symphony”
Colorado Symphony and Chorus, Marin Alsop

CD of the Month

Toru TAKEMITSU: A Flock Descends into the Pentagonal Garden, etc.
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Marin Alsop

Roy Harris: Symphonies 3 and 4
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John Tavener: Lament for Jerusalem
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Classical Music Spotlight presents a special interview with Maestro Leonard Slatkin
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William Bolcom's Songs of Innocence and of Experience
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Friday, May 26, 2006
Ned Rorem's Flute Concerto on Naxos

There is an impression that the music of Ned Rorem is glib, ecessively light and "French," and a lot of critics have contrasted the thorniness of his Flute Concerto, now out in a new recording from Naxos, with this imagined signature style. Yet, at least since the Trio for Flute, Piano, and Cello of 1960 and the song cycle War Scenes, Rorem has employed a versatile compositional technique to cover a lot of emotional ground.

In a recent interview on New Music Box, Rorem expressed little compulsion to write what's expected of him stylistically: "I don't do things because I'm supposed to do them; I do them because I want to do them. I'm not sure before the 18th century that the composer was interested in being new, having his own language . . . I don't think there is a role or responsibility that we have to write this (or that) kind of music." The Flute Concerto certainly reflects this open-mindedness and get 'er done spirit.

Performed on the Naxos disc by Philadelphia Orchestra flutist Jeffrey Khaner, for whom the piece was written, the Flute Concerto contains six movements with evocative titles. Not that these titles mean anything in particular; Rorem just thought it would be "helpful and fun" to name the movements.

The disc also contains a rendition of the Violin Concerto by Philippe Quint, who's putting together quite a string of fine recordings on Naxos. The piece has been recorded by Gidon Kremer but, at least according to David Hurwitz, Quint's version is superior.

Jose Serebrier, as has become the norm for all his Naxos recordings, expertly leads the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.