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Bob Neill
Classical Candor, October 2015

…this is a reasonably enjoyable collection of highly accessible though probably justifiably forgotten orchestral music that listeners can hear for themselves for relatively little cost. © 2015 Classical Candor Read complete review

John Sunier
Audiophile Audition, April 2002

"Hadley, who lived from 1871 to 1937, wrote in late Romantic style and had great popularity on symphony programs during his lifetime. In 1933 a music magazine called him "probably the most important composer in the contemporary American musical scene"... The tone poem on the Ocean comes from about 1920 and is inspired by a poem, Ocean Ode. Now that there's no onus on concert music that actually has melodies and accessible harmonies, we should be hearing more Hadley and others of his ilk on the air and at symphony concerts."

John Puccio
Sensible Sound, December 2001

"The sound provided for the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine is...nicely detailed and does reproduce a reasonably good stage depth, a solid dynamic impact, and a fairly wide frequency range. This is an enjoyable collection of highly accessible...orchestral music that one can hear for himself at very little expense."

Peter Dickinson
Gramophone, November 2001

"Three recording premieres for the American Hadley, accessible and enthusiastically played.

"Another Naxos rediscovery among North American romantics... Apart from being an immensely prolific composer, he he developed a highly successful conducting career in Germany adn in the USA and generously used his position to promote American music.

"Williams and the Ukrainian players really make the most of these first recordings and there's an informative CD booklet: it all lifts Hadley deservedly from history into sound at a stroke."

Steven J. Haller
American Record Guide, October 2001

"The recording is rich and ripe with detail. If Naxos plans on giving us a complete survey of Hadley's music, I look forward to the next installment."

October 2001

"Un des plus beaux fleurons de la collection américaine de Naxos, et un chef qu'on espère réentendre souvent." 5 Diapasons

Lucy Hall
Classic FM, September 2001

"Thanks are due to Naxos and conductor John McLaughlin Williams for bringing three strong works by the prolific Hadley within affordable reach. These world premiere recordings make an outstanding case for Hadley...One of the year's most exciting and satisfying best buy's."

Victor Carr Jr., July 2001

"Henry Kimball Hadley (1871-1937) came from a highly musical Massachusetts family and showed considerable compositional promise early in his life (he completed his first opera at age 17). A major figure in Hadley's development was George Chadwick, with whom he studied counterpoint and composition before continuing his musical education in Vienna. Hadley's music shows an accomplished technique and, as with that of many American composers of his generation, it bears heavy European influence (though in Hadley's case, it also contains occasional traces of his home soil). The Ocean, composed between 1920 and 1921, is as atmospheric as its title suggests, displaying Hadley's skill at evocative orchestration. The musical language sounds at first to be purely impressionistic, but further along there are indications of the German post-romantic style, especially Zemlinsky. The Culprit Fay (1908) revels in the pre-impressionist sounds of Paul Dukas (La Peri comes to mind) as it relates Drake's fairy-tale poem.

It's surprising that Hadley's Symphony No. 4, composed three years later, sounds stylistically like a much earlier work, with roots firmly planted in the 19th century. The four movements act as a musical compass, describing the four regions of the globe: North portrays the frigid artic regions in terse declamations reminiscent of Richard Strauss' Macbeth; East is spiced by "oriental" modes and colors; South, the most "American"-sounding movement, captures that region's flavor with the use of ragtime melodies; and West combines adventurous "outdoors" music with Native American melodies and rhythms in a movement that not surprisingly brings to mind Dvorak's New World Symphony. This is really fine music and you can't help but wonder how it all but disappeared from modern concert programs. But if it had received anything like the wholly persuasive and committed (as well as enjoyable) performances provided by John McLaughlin Williams and the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, it certainly shouldn't have. This team once again has put together an irresistibly fresh and rewarding program, and Naxos has captured it all in fine sound."

Raymond Tuttle
Classical Net

"Admirers of exuberant, late Romantic orchestral scores should direct themselves to this CD without delay. These world premiere recordings make a grand case for a revival of the music of Henry Kimball Hadley...Hadley's music makes its subject appear with utter clarity in the mind's eye. Even after the work is over, its gorgeous orchestration and 'splashy' moods remain vivid...Williams and the Kiev-based orchestra outdo themselves on this CD with first-class playing and committed interpretations; I wouldn't expect to hear better anywhere. Similarly, although Naxos's list price is $6.99, the engineering is top of the line. The annotations are an excellent introduction to Henry Hadley and his music. The Ledins's 'American Classics' series, to which this is another admirable addition, is a national treasure."

Robert Benson

"Henry Kimball Hadley (1871-1937) is a fascinating figure on the American musical scene. Although born in Massachusetts and focused for much of his life on the east, he also had a major connection with the west: in 1909 he was appointed conductor of the Seattle Symphony and two years later became first conductor of the newly formed San Francisco Symphony. For seven years beginning in 1920 he was associate conductor of the New York Philharmonic Society. In 1918 he married concert singer Inez Barbour and two years later his opera Cleopatra's Night was premiered at the Met. A check of the Metropolitan Opera Annals shows the premiere was Jan. 31, 1919 with a cast that included Frances Alda. Apparently it is a rather short opera as it was part of a twin-bill that included Pagliacci. There were three more performances after which, at least as far as the Met is concerned, Cleopatra's Night disappeared. (Other now-forgotten operas presented that season were L'Oiseau Bleu by Albert Wolff and Leoncavallo's Zaza.) In 1933 McKay founded the National Association for American Composers and Conductors, which endowed the Henry Hadley Memorial Library now housed at the New York Public Library. In the summers of 1934 and 1935 he led members of the New York Philharmonic in what was called the Berkshire Symphonic Festival; because of illness he stepped aside and in 1936 Serge Koussevitzky and the Boston Symphony took over the Festival, now Tanglewood.

"Hadley was incredibly prolific. His works include operas, operettas, incidental music, musicals, ballet suites, band pieces, symphonies, overtures, tone poems, cantatas, hymns, oratorios, choral pieces, chamber music, piano solos and numerous songs. He is said to have written "the first musical score to be recorded and played in synchronism with an entire motion picture" when he wrote the score for the Vitaphone Company film When a Man Loves, released in 1926. His music is remarkably pleasant and imaginative; his melodic gift is always apparent, his orchestration vivid.

"The Ocean was premiered by the New York Philharmonic with the composer conducting in 1921. This is a rather short (14:26) symphonic poem inspired by verses by Louis K. Anspacher vividly describing moods of the ocean, its power, danger and a sea-sprites interlude with a serene, reflective ending. Another symphonic poem, The Culprit Fay, Op. 26 comes from an earlier period (1908). The composer conducted the premiere in 1909, and it won the $1,000 prize of the National Federation of Music Clubs. It is based on a poem The Culprit Fay written in 1817 by American poet Joseph Rodman Drake which tells the story of a fairy, within a background of Hudson River scenery, who makes the mistake of falling in love with a mortal maiden and must successfully accomplish difficult tasks in order to achieve redemption. This is a luminous score, appropriately described in the CD notes as having "the orchestral shimmer of Dukas' The Sorcerer's Apprentice with the added romantic flair of Richard Strauss' tone-poems." It was quite popular at the time and other leading conductors played it often including Frederick Stock and Victor Herbert.

"The Fourth of Hadley's five symphonies was composed for the Norfolk, Connecticut Festival and premiered with the composer conducting June 6, 1911. Hadley also performed it with other orchestras, including the Boston Symphony February 7, 1925. The composer describes the work as a musical portrayal of moods suggesting first, the frozen North, second, the Far East, third, our own Southern ragtime rhythms; and fourth, the spirit of the West of our Pacific Coast. It's a rather long symphony (38:20) that holds attention throughout. Of particular interest is a theme in the first movement appearing for the first time about 3' in that is identical to Leonard Bernstein's "Glitter and Be Gay" from Candide written more than four decades later (1956). Could Bernstein have heard Hadley's symphony?

"John McLaughlin Williams conducts with spirit and authority; the orchestral playing is top-notch, with state-of-the-art engineering by producer Alexander Hornostai and engineer Andrij Mokrytsky. Comprehensive CD notes by Marina and Victor Ledin complete a most attractive package. Totally recommended!"

Jeremy Nicholas
International Record Review

"Here, as elsewhere, John McLaughlin Williams moulds the changing moods and colours with tremendous confidence and the Ukraine musicians capture Hadley¡¦s idiom as to the manner born..."

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