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Victor and Marina Ledin
Ask the Artist

An American Classic
Grammy-nominated Producers Victor and Marina Ledin Respond to Your Questions

Q. I have enjoyed the American Classics recordings with the Seattle Symphony on the works of Alan Hovhaness. Can you give some comments on your personal experience with composer Hovhaness?

-A.H., USA


A. Although the Hovhaness recordings were not produced by us, we had the good fortune to meet Mr. Hovhaness and interview him for a San Francisco radio program almost two decades ago.  The composer was soft spoken, gentle and somewhat shy at first.  As the radio program proceeded he opened up and spoke about his love of Eastern modes and scales and the influences that Indian and Armenian music had on him.  He also told us that he always attempted to create music that had a firm center, pointing out that “all music with a center was tonal” and that “atonality was against nature”.  He spoke about his love of the polyphony found in music of the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and how nature influenced him (we touched upon “And God Created Great Whales”, and his masterpiece, “Mysterious Mountain” (Symphony No.2)).  He spoke lovingly and with great respect of the beauty of the mountains in and around Seattle, Washington where he lived.  Without a doubt, he created a new world of original melodies and music which is both spiritual and enlightened.


Q. What American works do you feel are in desperate need of a modern recording? Do you plan to record any of them?



A. This is a very difficult question as there are huge gaps in American music discography.  In the initial phases of the American Music Series, we developed a data base of over six hundred composers.  For each composer we attempted to identify important compositions which should be considered for inclusion in the recorded series.  Collating data such as this was essential in order to identify potential recording streams.  We examined chamber music, solo instrumental, vocal works, operas and oratorios, choral works, and, of course, orchestral compositions.  A balance had to be attained between known and unknown repertoire.  Many composers had no modern recordings and, some had not been recorded at all.  The pioneering Gamelan-influenced music of Eichheim, or perhaps the works of music teaching giants such as Rubin Goldmark and Edward Burlingame Hill, should be considered along with the delectable suites of Ferde Grofe, or the Impressionistic sounds of Charles Tomlinson Griffes.  Naxos’ American Classics Series is very a much a “work in progress”, helped by active listeners who also contribute their thoughts and ideas! 


Q. I would like to say that what you have so far contributed to the Naxos American Classics series is wonderful; there is some very interesting repertoire there. Thanks for the Ned Rorem Symphonies, the Hovhaness, and recordings reissued from Delos. Can you say which have been your favourites?

-S. A., Australia

A. Thank you!  The American Classics Series has been a dream project – music highly deserving to be heard finally being made available at a reasonable price and packaged in such a way that a comprehensive history of American music may be enjoyed.  To see the Rorem symphonies available at last on one disc, to move forward and record a continuing series of suites by Grofe, to examine the less well known American symphonists (Hadley, Fry, etc.) or hear devoted performers play chamber music not often heard today (Cadman, Carpenter, Foote, Loeffler, others) has been wonderful to accomplish.  Favorites?  Too many to select from – and many more yet to be released.   


Q. Regarding the British humorist composer/arranger, Professor Teddy Bor: When did he produce/copyright his "Bach at the Double"?A. We did a wonderful performance of Merry Mount and recorded it, as a live recording, and it's my hope that Naxos will release it one of these days.
-H. S.

A. “Bach at the Double” by Professor Teddy Bor for double bass and two violins (string trio), to the best of our knowledge, was published by Yorke Edition in 2000.

I ask this to every Classical music lover: Who is your favorite

 French composer?

-S. M., USA


It is almost like asking, “Which French wine do you prefer?  Burgundy, Sauterne, Champagne ??  Depends on one’s moods.  Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Impressionist, Modern?  Rameau, Bizet, Faure, Ravel, Poulenc, and?  Hmmm… too many choices! 



Q. In the near future, will you be working on any recordings of works by Wallingford Riegger, who is in my opinion the most neglected great American composer?

-D. T., USA


A. Riegger is a critically important American composer and will be included.  Others are Ruggles, Henry Cowell, and Roger Sessions to name just three.  Stay tuned!


Q. I’ll run out of superlatives to describe the gems (Carpenter, Hadley, Fry, Strong…) I’ve discovered in the Amrican Classics series.  Could you lift the curtain for a peek at what’s to come?

-J. H., USA


A. Lots of goodies are on the horizon – piano music by Ives, Foss and Joplin, chamber music by Cowell and Ives, songs by Amy Beach and a Ballet by Harbison.  You will also see more music by Barber and Rochberg, as well as New recordings by Marin Alsop of music by Daugherty, Adams and Glass.


Q. Will you soon be working on any CDs of the fine concert music (or opera) of legendary Hollywood masters such as Bernard Hermann?



A. Yes… Bernard Hermann’s music is very much part of the recording plan, perhaps involving the collection of manuscripts and scores that are in the library at the University of California, Santa Barbara.


Q. I absolutely love the American Classics series, and the disc of Virgil Thomson’s symphonies is one of my very favorite recordings.  I was wondering if there are any plans to record more of Thomson’s works.  There are many wonderful works of his of which no modern recordings currently exist at all, such as the Cello Concerto and “The Mother of Us All” suite.  I can’t recommend then highly enough and they would make a fantastic addition to the catalogue.



A. The 1952 Columbia recording has been out of print for some time now and these two works do indeed deserve dedicated, modern recordings.  His four piano sonatas, as well as many of the shorter orchestral works deserve to be part of the American Classics series as well.  They are on our drawing board!


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