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John Harbison

Symphonies

The Boston Symphony Orchestra has released recordings of the symphonies of John Harbison for mp3 download.

Harbison: Symphonies 1 & 2


John Harbison: Symphonies 1 and 2, amazon.com

Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer John Harbison's six symphonies span three decades of his life. Each takes a unique view of the important genre of the symphony while exploring different aspects of his own style. The vibrant, energetic First Symphony, premiered in 1984 by the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Seiji Ozawa, was commissioned by the BSO for its centennial. Harbison's Second Symphony, composed a few years later, is more atmospheric in character, tracing a four-movement course from dawn, through daylight and dusk, to night. These recordings were made from live performances led by James Levine in fall 2010 as part of the BSO's two-season survey of the complete Harbison symphonies.

Boston Symphony Orchestra

John Harbison: Symphonies 1 and 2, amazon.com

Harbison Symphonies 1 & 2 (Harbison Symphonies 1 & 2) - Boston Symphony Orchestra, James Levine & John Harbison, iTunes US

Harbison: Symphonies 3 & 4

The Third Symphony, dating from 1990, is a compact, five-movement piece whose variety of character can be summed up by Harbison's movement titles: Disconsolate, Nostalgic, Militant, Passionate, and Exuberant. This recording was taken from performances led by James Levine in fall 2010 as part of the BSO's two-season survey of the six Harbison symphonies. The composer's Fourth Symphony, written in 2004, bears the traces of his preoccupation with 1920s jazz from his years working on the opera The Great Gatsby, but continues in a different, more "classical" direction. This recording, led by French conductor (and former BSO assistant conductor) Ludovic Morlot, was taken from live performances of fall 2011.

Boston Symphony Orchestra

John Harbison: Symphonies 3 and 4, mp3, amazon.com

Harbison: Symphonies 5 & 6

The Fifth and Sixth symphonies were both commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra and its music director James Levine, a champion of Harbison's work. Under Maestro Levine's influence, both works feature a vocal component. The Fifth Symphony, Harbison's longest, sets three poems on the Orpheus myth by Czesław Miłosz (the first two movements, for baritone and orchestra), Louise Glück (movement three, for mezzo-soprano), and Rilke (the finale, for mezzo-soprano and baritone). This recording was made from BSO performances led by Jiří Bělohlávek in December 2011, and features baritone Gerald Finley and mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke. The Sixth Symphony, which Harbison has described as an homage to James Levine, is the composer's most unusual in form. Its first movement is a highly lyrical mezzo-soprano setting of a James Wright poem, employing a reduced orchestra; the remaining three, larger movements for big orchestra develop and explore the music of the first. This recording is from the January 2012 world premiere performances by the BSO with conductor David Zinman and featuring mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy.

Boston Symphony Orchestra

John Harbison: Symphonies 5 and 6, mp3, amazon.com

Harbison Symphonies 5 & 6 (Harbison Symphonies 5 & 6) - Boston Symphony Orchestra, Jiří Bělohlávek, Sasha Cooke, Gerald Finley, David Zinman, Paula Murrihy & John Harbison, iTunes US

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