Top recordings feature 19th-century composers

October 07, 1994|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,Special to The Sun

For years, American music lovers have paid far greater homage to their 20th-century masters than to late 19th-century composers such as Amy Beach. But more attention is being lavished on the last century these days.

A top-notch recording of Ms. Beach's "Gaelic" Symphony, chock full of Irish melodies, is available in a delightful performance by the Detroit Symphony under the direction of Neeme Jarvi.

(Chandos 8958)

Mr. Jarvi also has recorded the delightful Third Symphony of George Whitefield Chadwick (1854-1931), a Bostonian whose work shows the lyrical influences of Johannes Brahms. As it did with the Beach symphony, Chandos has teamed the Chadwick work with a group of pieces by America's great 20th-century Romantic, Samuel Barber.

Virginia Eskin has recorded some of Amy Beach's music for solo piano.

"Dreams of Colombine" and "Variations on Balkan Themes" are available from Northeastern Records (NR223), where they are combined with works by Arthur Foote (1853-1937), yet another Bostonian. Mr. Foote was the first American-born composer to receive his entire musical training in this country and the first scholar to receive an American Masters Degree in Music.

The granddaddy of this entire generation was Harvard's John Knowles Paine (1839-1906), whose two Germanic symphonies have been beautifully performed on New World Records by Zubin Mehta and the New York Philharmonic.

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