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Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, September 2012

This is music for which Schwarz exhibits considerable flair, and his enthusiasm is transferred to the orchestra in snappy performances of the Rodeo and Billy the Kid numbers.

Overall, these Seattle Copland recordings resurrected on the Naxos label…are a well-played, satisfying program of two of the composer’s most popular works…

Schwarz…is finely attuned to these scores and has the Seattle ensemble playing in top form…this Naxos retread is more than worth its budget price. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review



Lawrence Hansen
American Record Guide, July 2012

The sound and the performances are fantastic…these performances are hard to pass up. Schwarz and his players just get it right. They don’t overplay the folksy elements in the ballet suites…these are recordings you can come back to again and again when you really just want to commune with Copland’s America.

…the interpretation and playing are as fresh and heartfelt and, sometimes, powerful as any I’ve ever heard. © 2012 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide online



Lynn René Bayley
Fanfare, July 2012

As is often the case with Schwarz, they are brisk, lively, well-phrased performances, in places quite elegant. I am particularly taken by his interpretation of “Corral Nocturne” from Rodeo, sensitively played and sensuously phrased. This in itself is conducting of the first rank, as it elevates a rather ordinary piece and makes it sound special. “Saturday Night Waltz” is also played with special elegance, and “Hoedown,” based on a country fiddler’s private recording of a tune called “Bonaparte’s Retreat,” has great swagger…

The piano concerto…is…an interesting and at times atmospheric work, and played with surprising sensitivity by Lorin Hollander, a pianist generally known for his explosive keyboard effects. I am particularly struck by the elegant phrasing of the winds in the first movement, where Schwarz evokes an almost Ivesian sound. The second movement…has a certain ragtime swagger and raw energy…Hollander is, again, surprisingly light of touch and elegant in his phrasing.

Schwarz’s reading of the suite from Billy the Kid is continually elegant, eloquent, and atmospheric. Schwarz again delights in bringing out the delicate and atmospheric wind textures, and even when strings enter the picture the music has an ethereal, floating quality. This reading is captivating; it is far more impressive than Copland’s own recording with the Columbia Symphony.

This disc is clearly competitive with most recordings of these works…highly recommended. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review



Phil Muse
Audio Video Club of Atlanta, May 2012

Copland scored his Piano Concerto…for a large orchestra including alto and tenor saxophones and extra percussion, and the jazzy scoring makes a terrific impact in the present performance when combined with the committed playing Schwarz draws from his cohorts.

…the Billy the Kid Suite is stunningly graphic in its symphonic writing as well as in the present performance, as befits the story of violence and sudden death in a raw frontier setting. The booming, rasping, staccato deployment of the percussion on several different levels in “Gun Battle” is nothing short of sensational. © 2012 Audio Video Club of Atlanta Read complete review



Brian Wilson Download Roundup
MusicWeb International, March 2012

The latest instalment in Naxos’s series of reissues of Gerard Schwarz’s recordings of American Music with the Seattle Symphony is self-recommending. Two of Copland’s best known scores are combined with the more serious, though far from unapproachable Piano Concerto—no longer likely to be thought a ‘harrowing horror’ as it originally was. Performances and recording are exemplary. Now we need the recording of Appalachian Spring with which the concerto was originally coupled. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review






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