Barber, Hanson: String Quartets - Ying Quartet
Sono Luminus DSL-92166
Classical - Chamber
Samuel Barber: String Quartet, Op 11; Serenade for String Quartet, Op. 1; Dover Beach, Op. 3
Howard Hanson: String Quartet, Op. 23; Concerto da camera
Randall Thompson: Alleluia
Sono Luminus has come together again with the amazing talent of the Ying Quartet, and is excited to release American Anthem: The Music of Samuel Barber & Howard Hanson. Bringing together musical selections that are truly expressive of the American spirit, this album also includes a selection from American composer Randall Thompson, and features pianist Adam Neiman and baritone Randall Scarlata. The package will be a 2-disc set, containing a Pure Audio Blu-ray™ Surround Sound disc as well as a standard CD.
What makes American music American? There have been many answers to that debate, both in music and in words. Samuel Barber was a composer who did not aim to write “American” music. Though Barber was born and raised in West Chester, PA, many observers note that he seemed equally if not more at home in Europe, in particular Italy and England. In fact, Gian Carlo Menotti, his longtime partner, said in an interview that Barber did not believe in being American and was not interested in Americana. Barber himself once criticized other composers’ works saying, “A collage of a little bit of this and that doesn’t make American music American.” And yet, now Barber is considered one of the most celebrated—certainly one of the most performed and recorded—American composers of all.
On the other hand, Howard Hanson has been described by some as, “the greatest protagonist for American music that has ever lived.” Indeed, in addition to his own compositions, Hanson claimed to have premiered over 2000 works by American composers through his Festivals of American Music, first in California and then for many years in Rochester, NY. Though Hanson enjoyed considerable success with his works during his lifetime, his chamber music now is rarely performed. Hanson’s own answer to the question of what American music is was to say that American music is nothing more than music by American composers. On this disc, we are pleased to present the major string quartet works of these two very important figures in American music of the first half of the 20th century.