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Lawrence Budmen
Coral Gables Gazette, July 2003

"This score is moving and powerful - Copland at his very best. Music lovers who have missed James Judd's brilliant music making with the Florida Philharmonic can enjoy his splendid work on this new recording. Judd leads a stirring, eloquent performance with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (of which he is music director). The string and wind playing is sweet toned and beautiful and the brass and percussion playing really has sonic impact. This outstanding performance is fully equal to the famous recordings by Copland and Leonard Bernstein and is superior to Eiji Oue's recent fine sounding account. As a bonus, the CD also contains a surprisingly subtle and idiomatic rendition of the Suite from Copland's 1938 ballet score 'Billy the Kid."



Joseph Dalton
Times Union, June 2003

"The budget label Naxos has several fine Copland releases. The best of these is a disc of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra giving stirring and transparent performances of Billy the Kid and Symphony No. 3, which encompasses the iconic Fanfare for the Common Man."



Peter Dickinson
Gramophone, June 2002

"Two Copland masterpieces in superbly idiomatic performances-a must buy. The verdict on this efficient and sympathetic performance of the symphony will be a affected by its being the best buy around now."



Stephen Johnson
BBC Music Magazine, June 2002

"It's the Billy the Kid Suite that makes the stronger impression. The pace is compelling through to the end, the flavouring is sharp and fresh, and it's hard to keep the feet from tapping spontaneously in the Mexican Dance."



David Hurwitz
ClassicsToday.com, February 2002

"Judd and his New Zealand orchestra offer a pair of terrific Copland performances. Billy the Kid gets a shapely, dramatic interpretation: the initial and closing evocations of the West's wide open spaces offer grandeur without bombast, while the ensuing episodes follow seamlessly, including a very exciting gunfight. In the symphony, Judd is very much his own man. He catches the simple dignity of the first movement very well, then turns in the most dynamic scherzo since the composer's own Everest recording. The Andantino, taken at a daringly slow (but never slack) pace, sets up the blazing finale with particular effectiveness. Here, Judd and his players pull out all the stops, with nicely differentiated brass timbres in the opening fanfare, and some really tight, rhythmic playing in the buildup to the central development's crunching climax. The closing pages, once again, provide the right feeling of triumph without the excess pomposity that has bothered so many critics and performers (even Bernstein) over the years. Naxos gets good, natural sound, though some of the percussion (snare drum rim shots, woodblock, and bass drum) seems a bit too backwardly placed--not a major point. This is a very fine release indeed."



Steve Vasta
CDNow

"One needn't make allowances for this performance's super-budget price. James Judd has the full measure of the Symphony's variegated moods and colors: the eerie, questing undertones after the first movement's big climax; the strings' aching lyricism in the scherzo; the expansive "Fanfare for the Common Man" theme vividly playing against faster, more pressing motifs in the finale. And in a piece that isn't really standard fare even among American orchestras, Judd has the New Zealanders playing capably and confidently. Full-throated unison horns launch the scherzo, whose middle section features a plaintive oboe; the brasses are light and dancey in the finale. Only the high, transparent bits of the Andantino betray tentativeness: the violins carefully, conscientiously "place" each note, and still the topmost ones whistle."






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4:20:39 AM, 25 November 2014
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