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Penguin Guide, January 2009

This invaluable disc gives a warm and colourful portrait of this late-romantic American composer, sadly short lived. It includes not only his three best-known orchestral works, but a clutch of rarities as well, otherwise unavailable on disc. Most of these started as piano pieces, which Griffes orchestrated, yet such was the composer’s mastery over evocative tone-painting that one would never guess that. The shimmering beauty of his writing matches that of Debussy on the one hand, Delius on the other, with his inspiration regularly coming from English literature, Coleridge in Kubla Khan, Fiona McLeod (William Sharp) in The White Peacock, as well as in the three songs, and W.B. Yeats in the first of the Three Tone Pictures. Apart from Debussy and Ravel, Griffes was drawn to Mussorgsky and Scriabin, as well as to oriental music. The White Peacock (1915) comes from a suite for piano (Four Roman Sketches), which he later scored for orchestra. The Pleasure-Dome of Kubla Khan (1919) and the Poem for Flute and Orchestra (1918) are probably his masterpieces. Performances here are outstanding and very well recorded, with JoAnn Falletta as music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic drawing refined and atmospheric performances from her players, with Barbara Quintiliani as the bright soloist in the songs and Carol Wincenc, principal flute in the orchestra, a most sympathetic soloist in the Poem. This fine compilation fills an important gap in the catalogue.

Karl Lozier
Positive Feedback Online, February 2008

…beautifully performed and recorded with great clarity and natural perspective. That has been true of most of the Naxos recordings I have received recently. The Poems of Fiona McLeod feature soprano Barbara Quintiliani and here very full and rich soprano voice. Harlan McIntosh' novel This Finer Shadow has Griffes' White Peacock playing a vital part in the plot. The Pleasure Dome incorporates most of the well-known earthly pleasures from mental to atmospheric, visual and physical. Beautifully atmospheric and at times with hints of Ravel and Debussy impressionism. This release receives my highest recommendation for plain old musical enjoyment plus sympathetic recorded quality at a bargain price.

Anthony Burton
BBC Music Magazine, May 2004

"...JoAnn Faletta's Buffalo orchestra seems thoroughly at home in this music, and the recording sounds well. Overall, an extremely valuable addition to Naxos's American Classics series."

Scott Morrison, April 2004

"A Must-Have Recording...the direction by Jo Ann Falletta and the playing of her Buffalo Philharmonic are beyond praise. This orchestra has played an important part in recording much of what is good in American music...I'm delighted that they have a three-record contract with Naxos to record American music. Earlier they had recorded music of Frederick Converse and it, too, was a winner. I am eager to learn what the third of their recordings will be. Urgently recommended."

Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, April 2004

"This new recording from Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic is doubly welcome, first for including all of Griffes's most popular works on a single CD, and second, for giving them to us in really superb performances. Each of these selections is treated as the minor masterpiece it is. Falletta seems to have a special flair for this music, and once again, the Buffalo Philharmonic is captured with a radiant sheen... the Three Poems of Fiona McLeod are beautifully sung by soprano Barbara Quintiliani."

Peter Dickinson
Gramophone, April 2004

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Raymond S. Tuttle
International Record Review, February 2004

"Naxos's American Classics series goes from success to success...recommended as an excellent choice for collectors who want just a single disc of Griffes's most characteristic and attractive works...Buffalo has preposterously harsh winters, but it is worth braving blizzards to hear its fine orchestra. Falletta and the Buffalonians pour an ample portion of polished Griffes's score...Naxos's engineering engenders no complaints."

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