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Michael Jameson
BBC Music Magazine, August 2002

"Naxos partners No. 6 with No. 4, premiered by Stokowski in 1944, and a 1948 concert overture depicting an episode in the American Revolution. Both these are hero-worshipping homages to the martial Shostakovich of the Leningrad Symphony... Theodore Kuchar's Ukrainian orchestra plays well in an idiom which it must have found unexpectedly familiar, and is well recorded."

Richard Burke
Fanfare, November 2000

ANTHEIL: Symphonies Nos. 4 and 6 / McKonkey’s Ferry 8.559033
CRESTON: Symphonies Nos. 1–3 8.559034
THOMSON, V.: Symphonies Nos. 2 and 3 / Symphony on a Hymn Tune 8.559022

I have chosen three recent ones that demonstrate the vitality and scope of the American symphony in the 20th century. © 2000 Fanfare Read complete review on Fanfare

Arved Ashby
American Record Guide, August 2000

"With copious notes, this interesting disc is well worth the absurdly small Naxos outlay. Certainly anyone searching for more music in the symphonic veins of Prokofieff, Shostakovich, and Copland will want to give it a try."

Robert Moon
Audiophile Audition, June 2000

"Antheil spent part of the early 1940's as a war correspondent for the Los Angeles Daily News and he admits that the Fourth Symphony 'reflects my tense and troubled state of mind while writing it ever day I was watching the news from Stalingrad, from Africa, from the Pacific The first movement, rhythmically complex, strewn with emotional ups and downs, expresses the anxiety of early World War II, when democratic life was in real jeopardy.' The strain of the first movement mitigates somewhat in the second movement where it's fused with themes of tragic beauty, a muted memorial to the atrocities occurring at the time of composition. The scherzo is reminiscent in temperament and orchestration of a sardonic Shostakovich. The final movement is a rondo of alternating battlefield angst, comic relief and final triumph. Although this symphony represents an effort by idiom, there still exists a spirit of wildness that reminds us of his earlier experimental works.

"The Sixth Symphony, premiered by the San Francisco Symphony in 1948 opens with an allusion to the 'Battle Cry of Freedom' but settles into the familiar pattern of alternating march-like themes (again reminiscent of Shostakovich) with lyrical passages. The Larghetto contrasts a slow waltz with a trio tinged with whiffs of Mahler. The work concludes with a rondo which Antheil describes as 'the triumph of joy and optimism over despair, war, annihilation.' The filler is the 1948 concert overture 'McKonkey's Ferry,' a musical depiction of George Washington's daring passage across the Delaware river on Christmas night, 1776. It is appropriately dramatic, strewn with a few nocturnally mysterious and suspenseful moments.

"This disc is an important one because it illuminates the relatively unknown works of composer whose reputation rests on the experimental Ballet Mecanique. It reveals a musician whose work shows the influences of Shostakovich, Prokofiev and a little Mahler with an Ivesian abandon that doesn't live up to the innovative qualities of the earlier works. ...Who else but Naxos would produce a disc of this historical importance?"

Geoffrey Norris
The Daily Telegraph (Australia), April 2000

"The two symphonies recorded here find Antheil forthright in his language, while using a more conventional orchestra [than with his ballets] and absorbing styles that the ear instantly associates with composers of 20th-century Russia. The Sixth Symphony (1947-8) has resonances of both Shostakovich and Prokofiev, but with distinctively American inflections as references to the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Propulsive and invigorating, Antheil's music merits the excellent, rhythmically assertive performance the Ukraine orchestra gives it."

Victor Carr

"Theodore Kuchar and the National Symphony of Ukraine bring as much fervor to this music as they did to their (first rate) Naxos Prokofiev recordings."

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