George ANTHEIL – Orchestral Works, Volume 1

George ANTHEIL (1900-1959)-  Orchestral Works, Vol. 1

Symphony No. 4 ‘1942’
Symphony No. 5 ‘Joyous’
Over the Plains [Premiere Recording]

BBC Philharmonic,  John Storgårds

Chandos CHAN10941 @ £12.25*

“This is pure Americana and you’d have to be un imbécile not to enjoy it.” said Neil Fisher The Sunday Times

“Call yourself the “bad boy of music”, as George Antheil did in his 1945 autobiography, and posterity might judge that you’re not quite so bad after all. The New Jersey-born composer certainly enjoyed a period of notoriety.

This centred on his time in Paris in the 1920s, when he wrote his Ballet Mécanique, featuring air-raid sirens, propellers and 16 pianolas. An audience eager to have an old-fashioned Parisian riot put up a good fight, making so much noise at the premiere that Antheil’s friend and champion Ezra Pound rose to his feet and shouted: “Vous êtes tous des imbéciles!”

To complement the two symphonies, Storgards has dug up a premiere recording. Antheil’s Over the Plains is an evocative miniature that teems with effects and revels in its jump-cuts and clashing material.

This is pure Americana and you’d have to be un imbécile not to enjoy it.” The Sunday Times

All about the CD…

Alongside its ongoing much-lauded Copland series, the BBC Philharmonic embarks on a new American journey, this time with its chief guest conductor, John Storgårds.

Known as the ‘bad boy of music’, George Antheil began his career with a reputation as an enfant terrible, composing shockingly avant-garde works such as his ever-popular Ballet mécanique, inspired by the dynamism and dissonances of Stravinsky’s early ballets. Although he is well-established on the film music scene, too, it is his symphonic output – sampled here – that today survives in the concert hall.

This new series documents the evolution of his musical style, which moved towards a fundamentally tonal and melody-based idiom, Antheil joining the growing ranks of famous US symphonists. The war-inspired Fourth Symphony and ‘joyous’ Fifth clearly represent this compositional shift, breaking with what the composer called the ‘now passé’ modernism.

Also here is the premiere recording of the Texas-inspired Over the Plains, memorable for its allusions to cowboy music and offering some unexpectedly dramatic and atmospheric twists along the way.

Chandos CHAN10941 @ £12.25*

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