Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Email Password  
Not a subscriber yet?  
Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews


COPLAND, A.: Symphony No. 3 / 3 Latin American Sketches (Detroit Symphony, Slatkin)

Naxos 8.559844

   Fanfare, November 2017
   Fanfare, November 2017
   Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, October 2017
   Classical Net, October 2017
   MusicWeb International, September 2017
   Fanfare, September 2017
   BBC Music Magazine, September 2017
   The New Zealand Herald, August 2017
   Gramophone, August 2017
   Pizzicato, July 2017, July 2017
   MusicWeb International, July 2017, July 2017, June 2017, June 2017, June 2017
   The Buffalo News, June 2017
   WFMT (Chicago), June 2017
   MusicWeb International, June 2017
   The Rehearsal Studio, June 2017
   David's Review Corner, June 2017

English        French        German        Spanish
See latest reviews of other albums...

Merlin Patterson
Fanfare, November 2017

…while [Bernstein] was conducting early performances of Aaron Copland’s Third Symphony—in effect, “work-shopping” the piece—he cut some 12 measures from the coda of the finale as well as several other minor alterations. He then persuaded Copland to retain these cuts when the work was published. In his new recording, not only does Leonard Slatkin restore the missing measures (which actual strengthens the ending) but he also delivers a powerful (the brass!), thrilling, extroverted, yet poetic account that can join the ranks of the very best. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review

Arthur Lintgen
Fanfare, November 2017

Leonard Slatkin’s ongoing Naxos Copland series is unusually interesting because he is recording complete (Appalachian Spring, Rodeo) and rarely heard (Hear ye! Hear Ye!) works. This is the best recording of Copland’s Third Symphony not conducted by Leonard Bernstein. Slatkin performs the original version that includes additional music in the finale not present in the usually recorded and performed revised (at the suggestion of Bernstein) version. So, this will be especially valuable for Copland fans, even if they prefer (as I do) the more tightly constructed revised version. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, October 2017

…upon hearing this new version by Leonard Slatkin and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, I am struck by why I have not been more mindful of its power and great beauty. I hear it as if for the first time.

…we hear a near ideal reading of the symphony by Slatkin and the Detroit Orchestra. The placid beauty of America at peace, the bustle of renewed life and the tribute to the heroic efforts of “the common man” come together for a whole that I seem to hear cohesively as if for the first time. The longer version of the final movement helps give the work a new balance it may not have quite as readily in the version we usually hear. But Slatkin gives each element equal and detailed weight so that we come away moved and satisfied. © 2017 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review

Brian Wigman
Classical Net, October 2017

Those overenthusiastic brass players I’m always moaning about? Yeah, they’re here, but they have the kind of brash swagger without crudeness that characterizes the orchestra’s finest performances. And it goes without saying that the strings and winds (recorded in 2013 and 2015) sound fabulous. In fact, of the three discs in this series so far, this stands out as the best played and excitable. This is an important album, one which adds to a longstanding legacy in this music from this orchestra. The Latin American Sketches are just as well done, and prove to be a fine bonus.

If you already have the conductor’s previous recording of this symphony on RCA, you may not need this disc. As he’s aged, Slatkin has become less exciting overall. But, when he’s at his best, he remains an expert Copland conductor. Beautiful live sound production from storied Orchestra Hall caps as fine a Copland disc as I’ve heard in some time. …this is a winner. © 2017 Classical Net Read complete review

John Quinn
MusicWeb International, September 2017

This is a most enjoyable and very successful Copland disc. The performances are excellent; Slatkin is a fine advocate for Copland’s music and the DSO plays really well for him. The engineering was a collaborative effort between Soundmirror and the DSO’s own team. The results are excellent… The CD sound is impressive enough but I’d be very interested to hear the symphony in particular in the enhanced format. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Steven Kruger
Fanfare, September 2017

This new performance of Aaron Copland’s Third Symphony is welcome in several ways. We catch Leonard Slatkin in an unusually serene and poetic mood, not qualities normally thought greatly to inhabit either this music or Mr. Slatkin. That’s new in itself. Newer still, and quite surprising in character, is the edition of Copland’s symphony miked here.

About five minutes into the first movement of Slatkin’s new recording, you become aware of lyrical brass and woodwind lines slightly fuller and swoopier than we usually encounter. That sort of thing teases your ear throughout. The music seems actually to have “texture” and seeks beauty in a normal way. Slatkin takes things slowly and makes the most of it.

Slatkin’s more relaxed approach allows the symphony’s many brass declamations to unravel themselves slowly, like Bruckner, rather than blare forth like a public address system at war with the listener. The symphony flowers and comes to life as a result. Naxos has captured the orchestra up close, but a rich bass and magnificent brass playing keep the textures appealing. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review

BBC Music Magazine, September 2017

Slatkin rightly tilts the music towards nobility… © 2017 BBC Music Magazine

The New Zealand Herald, August 2017

The recording, produced by Grammy-winning Blanton Alspaugh in the DSO’s Orchestra Hall, is first-rate, catching the crystalline strands of its Andantino and adding the requisite thrill factor to the many surging climaxes elsewhere. © 2017 The New Zealand Herald Read complete review

Andrew Farach-Colton
Gramophone, August 2017

…Slatkin’s attention to colouristic detail, and the expressive intensity of the Detroit Symphony’s playing, are riveting. The DSO strings sound more secure than their SLSO counterparts and Naxos’s engineering is unquestionably superior. © 2017 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, July 2017

On this CD, the 45 minutes-long Third Symphony can be heard in an excellent, very colorful and vibrant account. …this CD is highly recommended. © 2017 Pizzicato

James Manheim, July 2017

Slatkin and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, in fine, energetic form, join the Symphony No. 3…with the rather rare Latin American Sketches, finished in 1972 and ultimately Copland’s final orchestral work. …both pieces constitute reflections on major, populist landmarks of Copland’s career, making for a program (even if the recordings were made at different times) that’s both entertaining and interesting in terms of the patterns of his creative life. © 2017 Read complete review

Leslie Wright
MusicWeb International, July 2017

[Symphony No. 3] begins promisingly with a typical mid-1940’s Coplandesque lyrical theme, but soon starts to pound, becoming bombastic, before a lovely horn and flute duet settles things down. The horns also lead off the second movement in a bold, arresting motif. This Allegro molto movement leaves a most positive impression and is played to the hilt by the Detroit Symphony under Slatkin. The conductor also captures the veiled, plaintive theme beginning the slow movement well and later the lively dance music, which recalls the Appalachian Spring ballet in its joyousness, before returning to the eerie quiet of the opening. …Slatkin and the Detroiters clearly have the measure of the music and Naxos has provided them with a vibrant recording.

The Three Latin American Sketches, accompanying the symphony, are more than just filler. …The sketch begins with a beautiful, melodic theme on the clarinet and then oboe, and later the trumpet has a nice solo. Slatkin captures the spirit of this music to perfection. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review

David Hurwitz, July 2017

Leonard Slatkin can always be counted on to offer a new take on familiar classics.

…this is in every respect a terrific performance, excitingly played and conducted, powerfully recorded, and with a nice bonus in the form of the Three Latin American Sketches. As a collector, I am happy to have the opportunity to hear Copland’s first thoughts… © 2017 Read complete review, June 2017

Slatkin conducts the symphony with a sure sense of pacing and strong feeling for the work’s rhythms and orchestral balance. He brings a fine sense of rhythm to Three Latin American Sketches, too. © 2017 Read complete review

Barry Guerrero, June 2017

…this is an outstanding performance and recording of Copland’s oft maligned third symphony. Personally, I’ve never cared for the “Fanfare for the Common Man” as a stand alone work, and greatly prefer to hear it in context of the symphony’s finale. Here it makes sense. And speaking of that fanfare, I really like the way Slatkin balances it within this new recording.

It’s become common coin to turn the fanfare into a concerto for bass drum. Slatkin rightfully has the large orchestral gong (tam-tam) sound as loud as the bass drum and brass (sometimes even a tad louder—it’s a great sounding gong!). It short, it’s properly balanced. © 2017 Read complete review

Mark Hume, June 2017

Slatkin’s new recording is in a league of its own. The [small] Detroit string section is used to huge advantage, yielding an almost chamber-music intimacy and greater expressiveness, particularly in the first and third movement. The wind and brass playing is characterful, crisp, and like the string playing, poignant and illustrative.

Bolt down your furniture, by the way—this is a dynamic, wide-range, demo-quality recording that rivals Reference Recordings’ sonically excellent version conducted by Eiji Oue.

Slatkin also surprises in the Three Latin American Sketches; again, there is plenty of character, vivid color, and impeccable balance—with an occasional (and welcome) Stravinskian pungency. © 2017 Read complete review

Jeff Simon
The Buffalo News, June 2017

…one of the greatest pieces of all American symphonic music, by any assay, performed by an orchestra and conductor of ideal sympathy. © 2017 The Buffalo News Read complete review

Lisa Flynn
WFMT (Chicago), June 2017

Copland’s iconic Third Symphonywas described by the composer as ‘an end-of-war piece—intended to reflect the euphoric spirit of the country at the time.’ He described the Three Latin American Sketches ‘as being just what the title says. The tunes, the rhythms and the temperament of the pieces are folksy, while the orchestration is bright and snappy and the music sizzles along.’ © 2017 WFMT (Chicago)

Dan Morgan
MusicWeb International, June 2017

Slatkin’s Detroit performance of the Third Symphony is certainly a strong one, the first movement taut and tense in equal measure. …[His] rhythms are razor-sharp and spring-heeled, and he paces and phrases in a way that speaks of long familiarity with—and affection for—this iconic score. And it just gets better, the arc and spark of the second movement especially impressive. As for the DSO—woodwinds, strings, brass and the all-important percussion—they acquit themselves very well indeed. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Stephen Smoliar
The Rehearsal Studio, June 2017

Slatkin has approached this project with a sense of completeness that is likely to appeal to those wishing to take a thorough approach to the Copland canon.

…there is so much heart-on-sleeve tub-thumping in the “social agenda” behind this music that, while the coda may strike some as silly, it still stands as evidence that Copland had skills in working with multi-voice counterpoint that he did not exercise very often. © 2017 The Rehearsal Studio Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, June 2017

‘Some even consider it the finest work in symphonic form by an American composer,’ writes Leonard Slatkin, the conductor of this new Copland recording. It forms part of his on-going series of the composer’s complete orchestral works with the Detroit Symphony, and let me say at the outset, that having heard most of the previous releases of the Third Symphony, this stands out as the finest version on disc. His interpretation oozes Americana, the pulse and flow of the music so perfectly judged, and never can that feeling of thanksgiving and euphoria that gripped the States at the end of the Second World War have been so perfectly encapsulated. The hymn tune that recurs in the opening movement played with such unforced reverence, and when folk orientated material takes over, it appears as a natural progression. The second movement abounds with exuberance, while the third is here a mix of serene peace. It is then an unabashed account of the work the is also known as the Fanfare for the Common Man with which he opens the fourth movement, the tam-tam ‘smashes’ sending a shudder of excitement down the spine to add to the drama of the timpani. I have never heard the Detroit in such fine form, and maybe returning to the original Copland score injected a feeling that this was to be a landmark performance. The recording engineers make sure the full dynamic range Slatkin requires is preserved on this disc, and it will prove a good test for your equipment, the third movement opening so quietly to contrast with the sheer power of the finale. Whatever recording you already have this one will supersede it. The folksy Three Latin American Sketches make a pleasing lightweight coupling. © 2017 David’s Review Corner

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group