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Roger Hecht
American Record Guide, November 2012

The performances and sound are very good. © 2012 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide online

Lee Passarella
Audiophile Audition, October 2012

The Second [Symphony] is Honegger’s most famous symphonies and should be mentioned among great symphonies of the twentieth-century.

Schwarz and the Seattle turn in a very fine performance of this powerful symphony. Some recordings of the work are sabotaged by anemic strings, but the Seattle players provide a big sinewy sound that gives teeth to the argument of Honegger’s tough music. Plus Schwarz keeps things moving at a fair clip, investing the faster bits with a heady propulsiveness that’s convincing. This has to be considered one of the more successful outings the symphony has had on disc.

…[Henri Lazaof’s] Concerto for Orchestra is a real workout for all sections, including prominent thundering percussion…it cleverly draws on the Icarus myth as a tribute to Houston as home of NASA Mission Control.

The Honegger Symphony and Lazarof Concerto make an interesting pair that show how different the responses of composers can be to similar events and situations. Given the committed performances here and the colorful sound production…this merits a firm recommendation. © 2012 Audiophile Audition Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, June 2012

Having spent my childhood in the shadow of the Second World War, Honegger’s Second Symphony has always summed up my feelings of hurt and fear. I first encountered the work in the early 1960’s on a disc from the Czech Philharmonic conducted by Serge Baudo, their nation’s suffering oozing from that performance. Long deleted it will probably never be equalled, though Gerard Schwarz and his Seattle Symphony come close. After the sadness of the second movement, and the mounting violence of the last movement, the trumpet entry at last brings hope that the sun would again shine on the world. Completed in 1941 and scored for strings—the trumpet apart—it is a masterpiece of orchestration. It is also a challenge to the players from which the Seattle strings emerge with much credit. From the orchestra’s archive, the recording dates back twenty years, and is now coupled with music by Henri Lazarof, a Bulgarian-born composer who has lived in the United States since 1957. Composed for the Houston Symphony in 1984, the Second Concerto for Orchestra relates the story of Icarus, whose wings, fashioned by his father, took him so high he perished in the heat of the sun. Its three parts, which are largely atonal, it depicts man’s desire to escape his confines, and places the orchestra’s virtuosity under close scrutiny, while equally exploring the most quiet and delicate colours, particularly in the restrained second movement. Poema, an extended score, came as wedding gift to Schwarz and his wife in 1985, and features the trumpet to reflect the conductor’s early career. Exploring sonorities, it is stylistically a forward looking work. They come from sessions in 1989 and 1990, the sound, originally from original Delos recordings, is still impressive, and forms part of a ‘Seattle Symphony Collection’. © 2012 David’s Review Corner

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