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Rooster_Ties

William Levi Dawson's lone symphony (1934/52) -- beyond excited to get to hear this LIVE here in DC this Friday (on my birthday!)

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I've loved Dawson's symphony for almost 20 years now -- and imho, it's one of the all-time greatest symphonies by any American composer.  My other nominations might include Ive's 2nd (which feels more like a real "symphony" than his equally great 3rd and 4th), Sessions' 6th (or 7th? or 9th?), and Barber's less-well-known 2nd -- all off the top of my head -- ignoring some Europeans who took on American citizenship well into their adulthood.  And I'm FINE if we want to turn this thread into a discussion of other top-drawer symphonies by American composers.

A search on this forum on "Levi Dawson" will bring up half-a-dozen times I've waxed poetic for my love of this piece over the last 10-15 years.

AND, this will be the very first live classical music thing my wife and I will have been to in over two years -- in just 3 days I get to hear the Dawson here in DC...

https://www.postclassical.com/shows/hope-in-the-night

Who else digs the Dawson??

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Posted (edited)

Rooster,

I'm familiar with Dawson's Symphony -- but only in name.  I've never heard it.  Based on your enthusiasm, I'll check it out!  :tup 

Is there a particular recording that you'd recommend?

 

My nomination for the "greatest" American symphony would be Ives' Fourth

I hear what you're saying about Ives' Second; it follows a more conventional symphonic structure.  But it would be impossible for me NOT to choose Ives' Fourth.  It's so mind-blowing fantastic, and the most wonderful classical concert I've EVER heard was a performance of it (by Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony). 

To me, Ives' Fourth is like Beethoven's Ninth. Both "break the rules" of symphonies -- but they are also ultimate, transcendent examples of the form.   :)

 

 

Edited by HutchFan

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22 minutes ago, HutchFan said:

Is there a particular recording that you'd recommend?

Far as I know, it’s only ever been recorded three times. I highly recommend Neeme Järvi and the Detroit Symphony from 1992 — which has been reissued in at least 2 other forms (same recording, but paired with different works each time, often with Still and/or Ellington), and there was also a budget record-club CDreissue of the exact same recording (with a cheap looking B&W cover).

On my phone, or I’d say more. It’s on YouTube a few times too — and I’m not sure if any of those uploads are perhaps of an otherwise 4th version that’s unknown to me.

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Good deal.  I'll track down the Järvi version.  :tup 

 

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Looking forward to this, in about 27 hours!

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I was there that weekend too. I'm a George Walker fanatic, so I've been enjoying the NSO'strawl through his Sinfonias.

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