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HANSON conducts Hanson, Loeffler, Thompson - PASC292

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HANSON conducts Hanson, Loeffler, Thompson - PASC292-CD
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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.


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,
    *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." 

    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.

Andrew Rose




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.



CD covers to print:
(NB. Disable Page Scaling before printing)

PASC292 cover

CD-writing cuesheet (save as .cue):
(Use this to split MP3 files - see here)

Cue sheet

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XR remastering by Andrew Rose:
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