American Romantics IIReuben Blundell & Gowanus Arts Ensemble

About

“American Romantics II” is the second volume in a project initiated by conductor Reuben Blundell after he discovered several scores for string orchestra through the Fleischer Collection. These scores were all composed by American composers from the the last decades of the 19th century, both native born and recently immigrated. "American Romantics" presents the premiere recordings of these pieces, some of which draw on Americana melodies while others reflect the prevailing Central European compositional style of the day.

Audio

# Audio Title/Composer(s) Time
Total Time 85:43
01Old Folks at Home
Old Folks at Home
5:29

Suite Rococo

Félix Borowski
02Caprice Pompadour
Caprice Pompadour
2:49
03Air à Danser
Air à Danser
3:03
04Passepied
Passepied
3:14

Two Pieces

Félix Borowski
05Crépuscule (Sunset)
Crépuscule (Sunset)
4:20
06Sérénade
Sérénade
3:07
07Intermezzo
Intermezzo
4:59
08Theme & Variations
Theme & Variations
10:55
09Wiegenlied (Cradle Song)
Wiegenlied (Cradle Song)
3:02
10La Guitare (Pierrot et Pierrete)
La Guitare (Pierrot et Pierrete)
2:21
11Confluentia
Confluentia
4:52
12The lingac Boatsong
The lingac Boatsong
2:09
13In der Einsamkeit (In Solitude)
In der Einsamkeit (In Solitude)
5:20
14Élégie
Élégie
5:22
15Valse Menuett
Valse Menuett
3:02
16Gavotte
Gavotte
2:33
17To a Vanishing Race
To a Vanishing Race
2:31
18My Old Kentucky Home
My Old Kentucky Home
5:12
19Sanssouci, Menuet (Bonus Track, New Focus only)
Sanssouci, Menuet (Bonus Track, New Focus only)
6:17
20Elegy (Bonus Track, New Focus only)
Elegy (Bonus Track, New Focus only)
5:06

These world-premiere recordings are the second in conductor Reuben Blundell’s series promoting music by American composers, from the rich but underrepresented (at least in performance) music of the late 19th and 20th century. Some of these composers were born in America. Others, from Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, and the Netherlands, joined and influenced the musical life of their adopted country. Beyond these string orchestra works lie tantalizing, and mostly obscured, catalogs of compositions including operas, tone poems, symphonies, chamber music and songs.

Blundell unearthed these pieces from the rich troves of the Edwin A. Fleischer Collection of Orchestral Music at the Free Library of Philadelphia. The Fleisher Collection is the world’s largest lending library of orchestral performance material, lending to performing organizations worldwide. Alongside virtually the entire standard repertoire, it houses many rare and out-of-print works, with a current collection of over 22,000 titles and growing. Among them are two warm arrangements of iconic Stephen Foster songs by Kansas City based, Czech born Carl Busch and an extended Theme and Variations by Arthur Foote, who, among other distinctions, holds the honor of being the first recipient of a graduate degree in composition in the United States. The album’s program is balanced between natives of the United States (Foote, George Whitfield Chadwick, Ethelbert Nevin, Edgar Stillman Kelley, Arthur Bird, Charles Wakefield Cadman) and Europeans who became U.S. immigrants (Busch, Félix Borowski, Paul Miersch, Martinus van Gelder, Bernardus Boekelman, and Louis Lombard). In this way, these works are an ideal snapshot of the nascent musical community in the United States at the turn of the century — a moment in time that witnessed the gradual emergence of what flowered later into a rich American compositional tradition, through the different strains of Horatio Parker, Charles Ives, Aaron Copland, and eventually John Cage, Morton Feldman, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Lou Harrison, Ben Johnston, and countless others.

  • Recorded at Peter Karl Studios in the Gowanus Arts Building, June 6 & 7, 2014.
  • Producer/editor: Dag Gabrielsen
  • Engineer: Peter Karl
  • Post-production advisor: Dan Lippel
  • Mastering: Zach Herchen
  • Editor: Dag Gabrielsen, Zach Herchen
  • Orchestra Manager: Matthew Beaumont
  • Program Notes: Reuben Blundell
  • Graphic Design: Bloomsday Design
  • Artwork: Jasper Francis Cropsey “Starrucca Viaduct, Pennsylvania”

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