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William Perry’s Jamestown Concerto Receives Première Recording

May 15, 2007

Recording sessions for three important American works for cello and orchestra were completed on April 30 at the National Concert Hall in Dublin. Yehuda Hanani was the cello soloist, with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland conducted by William Eddins. Tim Handley was the producer.

William Perry’s exuberant Jamestown Concerto for Cello and Orchestra received its première recording. The piece was written to celebrate the 400th Anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent colony in America, established in 1607. The colourful score, dedicated to Mr. Hanani, describes events in 17th century London and Virginia and in several places replicates the consort of viols common to the period. The final movement is a rousing march called “Jamestown: Four Hundred Years On”.

The CD also includes Virgil Thomson’s Concerto for Cello and Orchestra performed in its original full orchestration and the first recording in more than forty years of William Schuman’s A Song of Orpheus. This latter piece, at the composer’s request, features a spoken introduction, a poem from Shakespeare’s King Henry VIII, here performed by the distinguished American actress, Jane Alexander.

An interesting note: Thomson’s Concerto was premièred by the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1950 with Paul Olefsky as soloist. In the present recording, Mr. Hanani plays the same cello used in that performance.


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