The marking of America's Independence Day each July provides an opportunity to spotlight Naxos' unparalleled American Classics catalogue that enjoys the addition of numerous new albums, year on year. The latest contrasting releases of orchestral works and vocal music respectively by Peter Boyer and William McClelland typify the craftsmanship of composers and excellence in execution of each programme, many of which feature world premiere recordings.
Peter Boyer is one of the most frequently performed American orchestral composers of his generation. His works have received over 600 public performances by more than 200 orchestras, and tens of thousands of broadcasts by classical radio stations around the US and abroad. Boyer’s GRAMMY-nominated Ellis Island: The Dream of America has become one of the most performed American orchestral works of recent years, with 250 performances by more than 100 orchestras.
Composer and pianist William McClelland, acclaimed for his “vivid music”, “appealingly direct manner of expression” and “fertile contrapuntal imagination” (Gramophone), has written a wide variety of music in many styles. His music has been presented throughout North America and he has been the recipient of a number of awards and commissions.
Browse through the full American Classics catalogue for more titles from the award-winning series.
* WORLD PREMIERE RECORDING
This album presents eight of the most recent works by Peter Boyer, one of the leading American orchestral composers of his generation. Balance of Power was commissioned for the 95th birthday of former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, while Fanfare for Tomorrow was composed for the inauguration of President Joe Biden in 2021. Each of these pieces displays Boyer’s vivid soundscapes and tuneful American sensibilities, from the cinematic sweep of Rolling River to Radiance, composed especially for this album. Boyer’s GRAMMY-nominated Ellis Island: The Dream of America (8.559246) has received over 250 performances and was televised by PBS.
Internationally acclaimed composer William McClelland has written a wide variety of music in many styles and forms, but the works in this programme have all been inspired by poetry. The choral works evoke the atmosphere of time and place in settings of very early texts, including Catullus’ movingly elegiac lament for his lost brother, These Last Gifts, an experience shared by the composer. The short pieces in Five for Piano all evoke specific poems and, composed over several decades, McClelland’s songs are primarily settings of poetry by American writers that express a mystical, symbolic or visionary view on nature.
The London Symphony Orchestra was established in 1904 as one of the first orchestras shaped by the musicians themselves. It now has some 2,500 recordings to its name. The orchestra has collaborated with a genre-busting roster of world-class artists through its work in film, video games and bespoke audio-only experiences. In addition to entertaining and inspiring millions of listeners, the LSO’s performances have received multiple honours from awards institutions.
Mezzo-soprano Krista River has appeared as a soloist with numerous orchestras and societies around the United States. Winner of the Concert Artists Guild Competition and a Sullivan Foundation grant recipient, notable performances include the International Water and Life Festival in Qinghai, China, and recitals at Jordan Hall, Boston and the Asociación Nacional de Conciertos, Panama.
Baritone Thomas Meglioranza is a winner of numerous competitions and has appeared both with the National Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Les Violons du Roy, as well as in operas such as Die tote Stadt and Peter Eötvös’ Angels in America. An avid performer of early music, Meglioranza has sung with period ensembles such as Apollo’s Fire and the American Bach Soloists.
Pianist Donald Berman is recognised as a leading exponent of new works by living composers and overlooked music by 20th-century masters. Recent performances include solo recitals in New York and as a featured soloist at Zankel Hall and the Rockport Music Festival, as well as abroad. A 2011 Radcliffe Institute Fellow, Berman is currently president of the Charles Ives Society and teaches at both the Longy School of Music of Bard College and Tufts University.
Blair McMillen divides his time as soloist, ensemble leader, music festival director and educator. His first solo album Soundings (Midnight Productions) was released to critical acclaim, since when he has featured on dozens of recordings spanning multiple genres. Holding degrees from Oberlin College, The Juilliard School and the Manhattan School of Music, he teaches at Bard College Conservatory and serves on the piano faculty at the Mannes School of Music.
Organist, teacher, and conductor David Enlow is organist and choir master of the Church of the Resurrection (NY) and music director of Park Avenue Synagogue. Solo recordings include Pater Seraphicus, Piano à l’Orgue, and Bach on Park Avenue (Pro Organo). Enlow has taught for the American Guild of Organists, The Royal Canadian College of Organists and at The Juilliard School. He received First Prize at the Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival and the Arthur Poister Competition.
Harold Rosenbaum, recipient of the 2014 Ditson Conductor’s Award from Columbia University, has taught at The Juilliard School, Queens College, New York and Adelphi University, and is Professor Emeritus at the University at Buffalo. He was awarded the 2010 ASCAP Victor Herbert Founders Award and the 2008 American Composers Alliance Laurel Leaf Award.
Founded in 1988 by conductor Harold Rosenbaum, The New York Virtuoso Singers has become the country’s leading exponent of contemporary choral music. Although the chorus performs music of all periods, its emphasis is on commissioning, performing and recording the music of American composers. The choir appears on some 50 commercial albums.