||David Meyers, baritone
East School of Music Chorus
Eastman-Rochester Symphony Orchestra
Howard Hanson, conductor
Recorded in 1952, 1953 & 1954
XR remastering by Andrew Rose at Pristine Audio, May-June 2011
Cover artwork based on a photograph of Howard Hanson
Total duration: 72:17
©2011 Pristine Audio.
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Volume 1. PASC 292
Volume 2. PASC 295
Volume 3. PASC 302
Volume 4. PASC 315
Volume 5. PASC 332
Hanson conducts his 4th Symphony & "Songs from 'Drum Taps'"
Plus rare recordings of Loeffler and Thompson in Mercury Living Presence
HANSON Symphony No. 4 (1943, won Pulitzer Prize) [notes]
Recorded 11-13 May 1953
First issued on Mercury MG 40004
LOEFFLER Memories of my Childhood (Life in a Russian Village) (1925) [notes]
Recorded 29 October 1954
First issued on Mercury MG 40012
HANSON Songs from 'Drum Taps'* (1935)
To poems of Walt Whitman
Recorded 3 May 1952
First issued as Mercury MG 40000
RANDALL THOMPSON The Testament of Freedom* (1943) [notes]
A setting of Four Passages from the Writings of Thomas Jefferson
Recorded 3 May 1952
First issued as Mercury MG 40000
*David Meyers, baritone
*Eastman School of Music Chorus
Eastman-Rochester Symphony Orchestra
Howard Hanson, conductor
Review of original UK LP issue (Symphony No. 4)
"Hanson ... is heard on the other side of the disc as conductor of his own Fourth Symphony, composed in 1943, and awarded the Pulitzer Prize on May 1st of the following year. Its four movements have headings taken from the Requiem Mass: Kyrie eleison; Requiescat; Dies Irae; Lux aeterna. The title of the last movement was used by Hanson twenty years before this Symphony was written, for a symphonic poem with viola obbligato. In broad outlines, the Symphony follows the normal plan of tempo-relationships, the first movement beginning with a slow introduction and moving on to a lively più mosso section, notable for some fine woodwind playing. The second movement is a broad and expressive Largo, standing in strong contrast to the short scherzo-like Dies Irae. A pastoral beginning to the last movement leads to a more animated middle section, the close being tranquil and at the same time impressive in the urgency of its musical message.
For connoisseurs of American music, this disc is an answer to a prayer; recording, interpretation, living presence (and the composer on the podium) all contribute to making it a triumph for all concerned."
D.S. The Gramophone, February 1955
Notes on the recordings:
These recordings were transcribed from both original 1950s Mercury LP pressings and 1970s Dutch reissue pressings. Although the latter offered much better overall disc quality, they suffered from a particularly unpleasant brand of fake electronic stereo, which attempted to create stereo spread by the simple expedient of putting the treble onto the left channel and the bass onto the right channel.
Unfortunately this very occasionally resulted in some phasing problems when the two channels were summed back to mono for XR remastering. In the three or four instances (of a second or less) that I detected of this I was able to either significantly reduce or entirely fix the problem.
More generally the sound quality of the older recordings was less than brilliant, and though I have managed to achieve significant improvements, there is a noticeable reduction of top-end treble towards the end of both recordings. In this respect the Hanson Symphony and the Loeffler are both much better, and all four recordings have greatly benefited from 32-bit XR remastering.
SONGS FROM "DRUM TAPS" (Walt Whitman)
I. Beat! beat! drums!—blow! bugles! blow!
Through the windows—through doors—burst like a ruthless force,
Into the solemn church, and scatter the congregation;
Into the school where the scholar is studying;
Leave not the bridegroom quiet—no happiness must he have
now with his bride,
Nor the peaceful farmer any peace, ploughing his field or gathering his grain,
So fierce you whirr and pound you drums—so shrill you bugles blow.
Beat! beat! drums!—blow! bugles! blow!
Over the traffic of cities—over the rumble of wheels in the streets;
Are beds prepared for sleepers at night in the houses? no sleepers must sleep in those beds,
No bargainers' bargains by day—no brokers or speculators-
would they continue?
Would the talkers be talking? Would the singer attempt to sing?
Would the lawyer rise in the court to state his case before the judge?
Then rattle quicker, heavier drums—you bugles wilder blow.
Beat! beat! drums!—blow! bugles! blow!
Make no parley—stop for no expostulation,
Mind not the timid—mind not the weeper or prayer,
Mind not the old man beseeching the young man,
Let not the child's voice be heard, nor the mother's entreaties,
Make even the trestles to shake the dead where they lie
awaiting the hearses,
So strong you thump 0 terrible drums—so loud you bugles blow. (1861)
IL By the bivouac's fitful flame,
A procession winding around me, solemn and sweet and slow —but first I note,
The tents of the sleeping army, the fields' and woods' dim outline,
The darkness lit by spots of kindled fire, the silence,
Like a phantom far or near an occasional figure moving,
The shrubs and trees, (as I lift my eyes they seem to be
stealthily watching me,)
While wind in procession thoughts, 0 tender and woundrous thoughts,
Of life and death, of home and the past and loved, and of those that are far away;
A solemn and slow procession there as I sit on the ground,
By the bivouac's fitful flame. (1865)
III. To thee old cause!
Thou peerless, passionate, good cause,
Thou stern, remorseless, sweet idea,
Deathless throughout the ages, races, lands,
After a strange sad war, great war for thee,
(I think all war through time was really fought, and ever will be really fought, for thee,)
These chants for thee, the eternal march of thee. (1871)
RANDALL THOMPSON The Testament of Freedom
Text from the following writings of Thomas Jefferson:
I. A summary View of the Rights of British America (1774). The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy but cannot disjoin them.
II and III. Declaration of Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms (July 6, 1775). We have counted the cost of this contest, and find nothing so dreadful as voluntary slavery. Honor, justice, and humanity forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them if we basely entail hereditary bondage upon them.
Our cause is just. Our union is perfect. Our internal resources are great. We gratefully acknowledge, as signal instances of the Divine favor towards us, that His Providence would not permit us to be called into this severe controversy until we were grown up to our present strength, had been previously exercised in warlike operation, and, possessed of the means of defending ourselves. With hearts fortified with these animating reflections, we most solemnly, before God and the world, declare that, exerting the utmost energy of those powers which our beneficent Creator hath graciously bestowed upon us, the arms we have been compelled by our enemies to assume we will, in defiance of every hazard, with unabating firmness and perseverance, employ for the preservation of our liberties; being with one mind resolved to die free men rather than to live slaves.
We fight not for glory or for conquest. We exhibit to mankind the remarkable spectacle of a people attacked by unprovoked enemies, without any imputation or even suspicion of offense. They boast of their privileges and civilization, and yet proffer no milder conditions than servitude or death.
In our native land, in defense of the freedom that is our birthright and which we ever enjoyed till the late violation of it; for the protection of our property, acquired solely by the honest industry of our forefathers and ourselves against violence actually offered; we have taken up arms. We shall lay them down when hostilities shall cease on the part of the aggressors and all danger of them being renewed shall be removed, and not before.
IV. Letter to John Adams, Monticello (September 12, 1821). I shall not die without a hope that light and liberty are on steady advance. ... And even should the cloud of barbarism and despotism again obscure the science and liberties of Europe, this country remains to preserve and restore light and liberty to them. . . . The flames kindled on the 4th of July, 1776, have spread over too much of the globe to be extinguished by the feeble engines of despotism; on the contrary, they will consume those engines and all who work them.
The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy but cannot disjoin them.
Click here to view additional notes
Biographical notes from Wikipedia
Howard Harold Hanson (October 28, 1896 – February 26, 1981) was an American composer, conductor, educator, music theorist, and champion of American classical music. As director for 40 years of the Eastman School of Music, he built a high quality school and provided opportunities for commissioning and performing American music. He won a Pulitzer Prize for one of his works and received numerous other awards.
Early life and education
Hanson was born in Wahoo, Nebraska to Swedish immigrant parents, Hans and Hilma (Eckstrom) Hanson. In his youth he studied music with his mother. Later, he studied at Luther College in Wahoo, Nebraska, receiving a diploma in 1911, then at the Institute of Musical Art, the forerunner of the Juilliard School, in New York City, where he studied with the composer and music theorist Percy Goetschius in 1914. Afterward he attended Northwestern University, where he studied composition with church music expert Peter Lutkin and Arne Oldberg in Chicago. Throughout his education, Hanson studied piano, cello and trombone. Hanson earned his BA degree in music from Northwestern University in 1916, where he began his teaching career as a teacher's assistant.
In 1916, Hanson was hired for his first full-time position as a music theory and composition teacher at the College of the Pacific in California. Only three years later, the college appointed him Dean of the Conservatory of Fine Arts in 1919. In 1920, Hanson composed The California Forest Play, his earliest work to receive national attention. Hanson also wrote a number of orchestral and chamber works during his years in California, including Concerto da Camera, Symphonic Legend, Symphonic Rhapsody, various solo piano works, such as Two Yuletide Pieces, and the Scandinavian Suite, which celebrated his Lutheran and Scandinavian heritage.
In 1921 Hanson was the first winner of the Prix de Rome in Music (the American Academy's Rome Prize), awarded for both The California Forest Play and his symphonic poem Before the Dawn. Thanks to the award, Hanson lived in Italy for three years. During his time in Italy, Hanson wrote a Quartet in One Movement, Lux Aeterna, The Lament for Beowulf (orchestration Bernhard Kaun), and his Symphony No. 1, "Nordic", the premiere of which he conducted with the Augusteo Orchestra on May 30, 1923. The three years Hanson spent on his Fellowship at the American Academy were, he considered, the formative years of his life, as he was free to compose, conduct without the distraction of teaching - he could devote himself solely to his art.
(It has been incorrectly stated that Hanson studied composition and/or orchestration with Ottorino Respighi, who studied orchestration with Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov. Hanson's unpublished autobiography refutes the statement, attributed to Ruth Watanabe, that he had studied with Respighi.)
Upon returning from Rome, Hanson's conducting career expanded. He made his premiere conducting the New York Symphony Orchestra in his tone poem North and West. In Rochester, New York in 1924, he conducted his Symphony No. 1. This performance brought him to the attention of George Eastman.
Eastman chose Hanson to be director of the Eastman School of Music. Business master George Eastman, inventor of the Kodak camera and roll film, was also a major philanthropist; he used some of his great wealth to endow the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester.
Hanson held the position of director for forty years, during which he created one of the most prestigious music schools in America. He accomplished this by improving the curriculum, bringing in better teachers, and refining the school's orchestras. Also, he balanced the school's faculty between American and European teachers, even when this meant passing up composer Béla Bartók. Hanson offered a position to Bartók teaching composition at Eastman, but Bartók declined as he did not believe that one could teach composition. Instead, Bartók wanted to teach piano at the Eastman School, but Hanson already had a full staff of piano instructors.
In 1925, Hanson established the American Composers Orchestral Concerts. Later, he founded the Eastman-Rochester Orchestra, which consisted of first chair players from the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and selected students from the Eastman School. He followed that by establishing the Festivals of American Music. Hanson made many recordings (mostly for Mercury Records) with the Eastman-Rochester Orchestra, not only of his own works, but also those of other American composers such as John Alden Carpenter, Charles Tomlinson Griffes, John Knowles Paine, Walter Piston, and William Grant Still. Hanson estimated that more than 2000 works by over 500 American composers were premiered during his tenure at the Eastman School.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Serge Koussevitzky commissioned Hanson's Symphony No. 2, the "Romantic", and premiered it on November 28, 1930. This work was to become Hanson's best known. One of its themes is performed at the conclusion of all concerts at the Interlochen Center for the Arts. Now known as the "Interlochen Theme", it is conducted by a student concertmaster after the featured conductor has left the stage. Traditionally, no applause follows its performance. It is also best known for its use in the end credits of the 1979 Ridley Scott film Alien.
In some ways Hanson's opera Merry Mount (1934) may be considered the first fully American opera. It was written by an American composer and an American librettist on an American story, and was premiered with a mostly American cast at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 1934. The Opera received fifty curtain calls at its Met premiere, a record that still stands. In 1935 Hanson wrote "Three Songs from Drum Taps", based on the poem by Walt Whitman.
Hanson was elected as a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1935, President of the Music Teachers' National Association from 1929 to 1930, and President of the National Association of Schools of Music from 1935 to 1939.
From 1946 to 1962 Hanson was active in United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). UNESCO commissioned Hanson's Pastorale for Oboe and Piano, and Pastorale for Oboe, Strings, and Harp, for the 1949 Paris conference of the world body.
Frederick Fennell, conductor of the Eastman Wind Ensemble, described Hanson's first band composition, the 1954 Chorale and Alleluia as "the most awaited piece of music to be written for the wind band in my twenty years as a conductor in this field". Chorale and Alleluia is still a required competition piece for high school bands in the New York State School Music Association's repertoire list. It is one of Hanson's most frequently recorded works.
From 1961-1962, Hanson took the Eastman Philharmonia, a student ensemble, on a European tour which passed through Paris, Cairo, Moscow, and Vienna, among other cities. The tour showcased the growth of serious American music for Europe and the Middle East.
Hanson met Margaret Elizabeth Nelson at her parents' summer home on Lake Chautauqua in the Chautauqua Institution in New York. Hanson dedicated the Serenade for Flute, Harp, and Strings, to her; the piece was his musical marriage proposal, as he could not find the spoken words to propose to her. They married on July 24, 1946 at her parents' summer home in Chautauqua Institution.
Legacy and honors
- Hanson was an initiate of two chapters of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity: the Iota Chapter at Northwestern University in 1916, and the Alpha Nu Chapter at Eastman in 1928. He was recognized as a national honorary member in 1930, and presented with the Charles E. Lutton Man of Music Award at the national convention in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1954.
- After he composed the Hymn of the Pioneers to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the first Swedish settlement in Delaware, Hanson was selected as a Fellow of the Royal Swedish Academy in 1938.
- In 1944, Hanson was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Symphony No. 4, subtitled Requiem.
- In 1945, he became the first recipient of the Ditson Conductor's Award for his commitment to American music.
- In 1946, Hanson was awarded the George Foster Peabody Award "for outstanding entertainment programming" for a series he presented on the Rochester, New York radio station WHAM in 1945.
- In 1953, Hanson helped to establish the Edward B. Benjamin Prize "for calming and uplifting music" written by Eastman students. Each submitted score was read by Hanson and the Eastman Orchestra. Winners of the Benjamin Prize appeared on Hanson's recording Music for Quiet Listening.
- In 1960, Hanson published Harmonic Materials of Modern Music: Resources of the Tempered Scale, a book that would lay the foundation for musical set theory. Among the many notions considered was what Hanson called the isomeric relationship, now usually termed Z-relationship.
- Hanson was on the Board of Directors of the Music Educators National Conference from 1960 to 1964.
- Hanson's Song of Democracy, on a Walt Whitman text, was performed at the inaugural concert for incoming U.S. President Richard Nixon in 1969. Hanson proudly noted this was the first inaugural concert to feature only American music.
- In recognition of Hanson's achievements, the Eastman Kodak company donated $100,000 worth of stock to the Eastman School of Music in 1976. Hanson stipulated that the gift be used to fund the Institute of American Music.
- Hanson was a Distinguished Nebraskans Award Recipient in 1976.
Hanson's students include John Davison, John La Montaine, Samuel Jones, H. Owen Reed, Kenneth Gaburo, Donald O. Johnston, Martin Mailman, Gloria Wilson Swisher, Robert Washburn, Homer Keller, John White, David Borden, Emma Lou Diemer, Ron Nelson, and Bill Pursell.
Excerpts from his Symphony #2 were used to accompany several exterior sequences and the end credits in the released versions of Ridley Scott's 1979 horror movie Alien without his permission, but Hanson decided not to fight it in court.—they replaced certain sections of the late Jerry Goldsmith's original score at the behest of 20th Century Fox. This highlighted music can still be found on most DVD versions of Alien.
From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Hanson
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