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Penguin Guide, January 2009

Like Barber, Piston and Roy Harris, Diamond was pushed aside in the late 1950s when the march of serialism and post-serialism seemed unstoppable, and Boulez and his followers dismissed such music as irrelevant. However, this generation is returning with a vengeance and Diamond has enjoyed considerable exposure in the last decade or so. The First Symphony was composed after the outbreak of war had forced Diamond to abandon his studies with Nadia Boulanger in Paris and return to America, and the piece is undoubtedly an auspicious beginning to his impressive symphonic portfolio. The lyrical Second Violin Concerto (1947) is a bit Stravinskian with a dash of Walton. It is finely played by the Finnish-born Ilkka Talvi; and the fantasia, The Enormous Room (1948), takes its inspiration from the e.e. cummings description of his incarceration in a French detention camp in 1918. Diamond’s score is rhapsodic in feeling, with orchestral textures of great luxuriance; it is both imaginative and atmospheric, and throughout he is well served by Gerard Schwarz, the Seattle orchestra and the Delos team who originally recorded it. Indeed, the recording is outstanding.





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