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Hyperion Records

SACDA67525 - Ives: Symphonies Nos 2 & 3

Recording details: Various dates
Eugene McDermott Concert Hall, Morton H Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas, USA
Produced by Various producers
Engineered by Various engineers
Release date: October 2006
Total duration: 68 minutes 42 seconds

'Cherish the endearing Third for its alert phrasing; cherish the Fourth for the transcendental finale, beautifully caught by the microphones. Polished performances' (The Times)

'[No other version] quite probes or reveals the unique and compelling world of Ives's imagination as does this' (International Record Review)

'These performances represent all that's best about American orchestras and conductors' (MusicWeb International)

'A truly haunting effect' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Stunning "live" performances' (Yorkshire Post)

'What a wonderful surprise it has been, seeing the release of the complete Ives symphonies on Hyperion. I have no doubt that Andrew Litton's cycle will serve as the reference for many years to come … You won't hear a more insouciant account of the finale anywhere, while the second movement has a real spring to its step—its final bars are simply hilarious, less outrageous than the symphony's ending, but no less surprising in their own way … The Third Symphony isn't as easy to play as it sounds, and Litton not only captures the music's flow to perfection, he gives the small wind and brass complement plenty of opportunity to shine, albeit sensitively … Finally, the engineering is rich, clear and vibrant. A major achievement, no doubt about it' (

'Litton and the Dallas Symphony realise very well Symphony no 3…a powerful sense of community is captured—the hymn singing at camp meetings—the whole finely modulated and pointed, the second movement Scherzo being especially ear catching, and the finale ideally intense' (Fanfare, USA)

'Quant à la Symphony no 4, elle rend plus manifestes le projet spirituel, le savoir-faire musical, la matière sinore grouillante et la nature créatrice du compositeur. Là encore, le travail d'Andrew Litton est à saluer parce qu'il nous place dans le 'laboratoire' passionné de chaque oeuvre, il joue chaque pièce pour ce qu'elle est et jamais au nom d'une 'vision' d'interprète qui recouvrait ce corpus décidément extraordinaire' (La monde de la musique, France)

'There are various 'one off' recordings of Ives’s symphonies, but Andrew Litton and Hyperion are to be commended for presenting these works splendidly played and excellently recorded in state-of-the-art sound … Litton is his own man and his reading is a very strong and convincing one' (

Symphonies Nos 2 & 3
Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Litton (conductor) Super-Audio CD  

This pair of exciting discs from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Andrew Litton offers thrilling new recordings of all four of Charles Ives’s extraordinary symphonies.

The idiosyncratic nature of Ives’s early musical training (simultaneous but competing marching bands, etc) is well known, but before we can delight in its fruits, we find Ives-the-student writing a (relatively) conventional Symphony No 1 under the watchful, if not always approving, stare of his tutor. The result is almost a pastiche of all that we know and love from the late-nineteenth century symphonic tradition: Brahms, Dvorvák, Tchaikovsky.

Released from college in 1898, Ives rapidly shook off such influences, entered a new century and set about expanding his extraordinary vision through three further symphonies, culminating in the spiritual marathon of the fourth, which—Ives tells us—poses (and answers, threefold) the cosmic questions ‘what?’ and ‘why?’.

Alongside the four symphonies we have Central Park in the Dark, and an Ives-sanctioned orchestral arrangement of his most popular (and outrageous) solo song, General William Booth Enters into Heaven. The commanding baritone of Donnie Ray Albert tells the story of General Booth—founder of the Salvation Army—approaching the pearly gates, the great unwashed in his following (Dallas Symphony Chorus) assured of being ‘washed in the blood of the Lamb’: Hallelujah! Captured live during concerts in Dallas, the recorded sound is every bit worthy of these epic works. Both discs are available in conventional CD format as well as DSD multichannel hybrid SACD.

Other albums in this series
'Ives: Symphonies Nos 2 & 3' (CDA67525)
Ives: Symphonies Nos 2 & 3
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67525  This album is not available for download
'Ives: Symphonies Nos 1 & 4' (CDA67540)
Ives: Symphonies Nos 1 & 4
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67540  This album is not available for download
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