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Guy Rickards
Gramophone, July 2020

Fagen and the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra are just as idiomatic as interpreters and are better served by Naxos’s bright recording. … Fagen and his Viennese players do it proud. © 2020 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Henry Fogel
Fanfare, June 2020

Arthur Fagen and the Vienna Radio Orchestra have the measure of these works; the conductor manages to convey the American and Latin dance idioms to the Austrian musicians, and they sound totally at home in the music. In the slower movements Fagen displays a supple sense of phrase-shaping. Gould asks of the performers a balance of kinetic energy and warm lyricism. Fagen and the Vienna RSO provide both.

This is a lovely collection of fine music that is under-represented in the catalogue, and Naxos’s well-balanced and rich sound, along with excellent notes by Frank K. DeWald, complete the picture. My recommendation is enthusiastic. © 2020 Fanfare

The Light Music Society, April 2020

Arthur Fagan leads the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra in insightful performances, committed equally to the serious and light sides of the Gould coin. Sometimes, Gould’s arranging work for wind ensembles and even for film and the Broadway stage has overshadowed his own compositions and it would be nice to think we are going to see more recordings that redress this imbalance at some point—and if the performances and recordings are of the quality here, there will be a collection to acquire without hesitation! © 2020 The Light Music Society Read complete review

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, April 2020

Arthur Fagen and the musicians of the Vienna Radio Orchestra do an excellent job, and since the sound recording is also of the best quality, this CD can be recommended to anyone who has a penchant for lighter symphonic music. © 2020 Pizzicato Read complete review

Jed Distler, April 2020

…The Spirituals reveal a more seriously sustained persona. In the first-movement “Proclamation” recitative-like passages transpire between loud chordal thunderbolts, while gentle dabs of dissonance prevent the touchingly plaintive melodies in “Sermon” from sounding cloying. The latter movement plays to conductor Arthur Fagen’s strengths and the Vienna ensemble’s excellent strings in regard to its broad and beautifully sustained tempo. © 2020 Read complete review

Robert E. Benson, April 2020

Performances are excellent with the Viennese orchestra under Arthur Fagen’s direction in top form. This is a welcome addition to the Naxos American Composers series. © 2020 Read complete review

Records International, April 2020

The Symphonettes represent Gould’s best crossover work—No. 4 (1940) deriving its character from Latin-American dance forms to make it one of his most popular compositions. The first movement of No. 3 (c.1938) has been described as “a collection of dance band licks, full of bent notes and syncopations” and the central Pavanne of No. 2 (c.1935) with its bluesy trumpet motif is one of Gould’s biggest hits. Spirituals (1941) utilizes the strings as a choir, with antiphonal responses in the rest of the orchestra. © 2020 Records International

Barry Forshaw
Classical CD Choice, March 2020

While his music is perhaps not as popular as it once was, the attractive and inventive light orchestral music of Morton Gould is still delightful when listened to in the right mood—and particularly when delivered with the panache to be found on this disc. Morton Gould was an American musical phenomenon, equally at home in classical, crossover and film genres, and the recipient of both GRAMMY and Pulitzer awards during his long and distinguished career. The Symphonettes represent Gould’s best crossover work—the Symphonette No. 4 deriving its character from Latin-American dance forms to make it one of his most popular compositions. © 2020 Classical CD Choice

Lynn René Bayley
The Art Music Lounge, March 2020

Gould has a lot more jazz influence in the Third and Second Symphonettes… They play it about as well as most classically-trained foreigners do…

…Gould’s best, has much charm, humor and zest in it. © 2020 The Art Music Lounge Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, March 2020

Morton Gould typifies all that was popular in the world of classical music in the United States during the Twentieth century, as he was adept in so many genres.

His three Symphonetts—or should they be called Sinfoniettas—mixes the use of a symphony orchestra with the world of ‘pop’ classics derived from his employment as a prolific film composer, yet we hear them all to rarely in today’s concert halls. Was he, like Bernstein, a master of too many things, that he does not fall into any one category? Just start with the ‘Second American Symphonette’ and you have a procession of catchy tunes that remain long in your memory and leaves you feeling happy just thinking of Gene Kelly dancing to it. That dates from 1935, and three years later the Third Symphonette has a more serious musical face, and it adds a fourth movement to the layout of the Second with an American view of the Gavotte. The Fourth from 1940 carried the additional title ‘Latin-American’, its four movements in different dance forms ending with an irresistible Conga. Spirituals for Orchestra remains his best-known concert work, the score at times sombre, but always carrying a feeling of a deeply religious coloured community. The multi-functional ORF Vienna Radio Symphony, with conductor Arthur Fagen, play in an American style ‘to the manner born’, the orchestra’s trumpets enjoying the Symphonetts, sound suitably jazzy in the Second. You will have to play the disc at a high volume level to breath life into it. Most strongly recommended. © 2020 David’s Review Corner

Jean-Yves Duperron
Classical Music Sentinel, March 2020

Conductor Arthur Fagen was a friend of Morton Gould which explains why he can so easily coax an Austrian ensemble, the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, to slide into American garb with such conviction. It’s nice to see the Naxos label still adding titles to their American Classics series which has played a great role in the renewed interest into well known works as well as neglected gems. © 2020 Classical Music Sentinel Read complete review

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