Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Couple of Great American Symphonies, for Your Consideration

On NPR's Deceptive Cadence blog, Tom Huizenga is looking for the great American symphony, and he provides a comprehensive Spotify playlist of candidates. Here are a couple more to consider.

The first is Rochberg's Symphony No. 2, which George Szell premiered in 1959 with the Cleveland Orchestra. It's got all the things that makes Rochberg great--it's aggressive, ironic, and filled with breathtaking musical contrasts--without the (at times) hammy reliance on stylistic allusion that marked his mid-'60s and '70s music. I think it's his best piece.

The second is Wallingford Riegger's Symphony No. 3 from 1948. It's alive with rhythmic energy; it'd be a great piece to choreograph: