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Our world-beating American Classics series boasts a unique catalogue of both well-known and rarely recorded masterpieces. The landmark series features the greatest American composers, with award-winning contemporary works often presented in world premiere recordings.

Our most recent releases exemplify these hallmarks of the collection and comprise four programmes of first recordings, either in whole (Jon Deak, Richard Danielpour, Gregory Hutter) or in part (John Philip Sousa).

Browse the hundreds of entries in our Naxos American Classics segment catalogue.

Richard DANIELPOUR (b. 1956)
Talking to Aphrodite 1
Symphony for Strings
Kaddish 2

Sarah Shafer, Soprano 1
Maxim Semyonov, French Horn 1
Evgeny Pravilov, Violin 2
Russian String Orchestra
Misha Rachlevsky

These three recordings cement the bond between the award-winning composer Richard Danielpour and the conductor Misha Rachlevsky, one of the composer’s most dedicated and perceptive interpreters. It was Rachlevsky who gave the American premiere of Symphony for Strings, a transcription of the Sixth String Quartet – a work saturated in farewells, complete with a hymn and variations. Talking to Aphrodite is the result of a collaboration between Danielpour and the writer Erica Jong, while Kaddish addresses the eternal issues of life, death and eventual peace.

Listen to an extract from Talking to Aphrodite:
V. Playfully (in the manner of a tango)
Gregory HUTTER (b. 1971)
Secular Choral Music
A Cradle Song
Three American Madrigals • Tears *

Shannon Seay, Soprano *
Philovox Ensemble • Robert Schuneman
Composers’ Choir • Daniel Shaw
The Singers—Minnesota Choral Artists • Matthew Culloton

The exciting, genre-defying American composer Gregory Hutter wrote this sequence of choral music between 2009 and 2014 – his intention being economic, direct and tuneful music. The settings range from the English Renaissance to American poems of the early 20th century; from Shakespeare to Carl Sandburg and Sara Teasdale. Hutter approaches the texts with lyricism and fluidity, attentive to the poetry’s moments of melancholy, beauty or bucolic energy. In harmonically rich settings he draws on polyphony, chromaticism and lullaby alike to communicate and bring the listener closer to the core of the texts.

Listen to an extract from A Cradle Song
John Philip SOUSA (1854–1932)
Music for Wind Band, Vol. 19
El Capitan – Second Fantasia
Selection from The Bride Elect
The Band Came Back – Humoresque

Royal College of Music Wind Orchestra
Keith Brion

In addition to his world-famous marches, John Philip Sousa was a master of the piquant Humoresque, of which there are two examples here. The first, On the 5.15, is a popular song detailing the travails of a commuter, while the second, The Band Came Back, introduces popular tunes in witty fashion. The sonorous Second Fantasia from El Capitan showcases the band’s bravura qualities and The Fighting Race draws on a trombone solo. There are charming detours to explore rural Americana in the form of Sheep and Goat (‘Walkin’ to the Pasture’) and the evergreen classic, Turkey in the Straw.

Listen to Non-committal Declarations
World Premiere Recordings
DEAK, J.: Symphonic Tales
Jon DEAK (b. 1943)
Symphonic Tales
B.B. Wolf (An Apologia) 1 • Bye-Bye! 2
The Snow Queen Finale: The Ice Palace 3
The Legend of Spuyten Duyvil 4

Jon Deak, Contrabass/Narrator 1
Julia Bogorad-Kogan, Flute/Narrator 2
Judith Lynn Stillman, Piano/Narrator 2
Pamela Goldsmith, Viola 3 • Chris Gekker, Trumpet 4
Cabrillo Festival Orchestra 3,4 • Marin Alsop, Conductor/Narrator 3,4

Jon Deak is a composer who ‘has more fun with music than anyone I know’ (New York Newsday), and all of the pieces on this album of symphonic stories for young and old alike involve the performers as narrators. These tales include the wolves of Canada and Alaska in B.B. Wolf (An Apologia), a loving tribute to the immigrants of America in Bye-Bye!, and a dramatic and virtuoso version of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen Finale. The Legend of Spuyten Duyvil is a tale of old New Amsterdam that invokes the heroic spirit of trumpeter Anthony Van Corlaer.

Listen to an extract from The Snow Queen Finale: The Ice Palace
More 2019 releases from the American Classics series
‘... first-rate performances by Chicago Symphony members playing as Chicago Pro Musica.’ ★★★★
‘Leonard Slatkin’s Copland is always first rate, and this release is no exception.’
Double Concerto ‘Dialogue’
Clarinet Concerto • Sunburst

David • Gill • Norsworthy
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
‘The music is both sophisticated and genuinely appealing ... it never for one moment forgets the genuine communicative power that great music can have.’
Armenian Requiem

Barsoumian • Avakian
Manucharyan • Chernov
Harutyunyan • Bull
VEM String Quartet
Tziatzan Children’s Choir
Lark Master Singers
UCLA Philharmonia • Stulberg
‘... a veritable spring garden of
musical delights.’
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review
‘The Fort Smith Symphony deliver riveting performances of these two symphonic works ... This compelling music could have no better advocates.’
MusicWeb International
Music for Wind Band, Vol. 18

Trinity Laban Wind Orchestra
‘Volume 18 reveals Sousa to be a master of operetta and the ‘humoresque’ just as much as the marches for which he is still renowned the world over.’
Records International

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