Bernstein Century - Foss: Time Cycle, Phorion, Song of Songs
(Adele Addison, Howard D. Colf, et al; Columbia Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic Orchestra; Leonard Bernstein, conductor)
This is one of the Sony gems from the backlist, documenting Leonard Bernstein's foray into conducting the New York Philharmonic as well as the Columbia Symphony. Foss's Time Cycle is a set of four songs set to the poems of W.H. Auden and A.E. Housman and readings from Kafka and Nietzsche. It's mostly atonal with 12-tone patterning, and it has an air of rapt improvisation. Phorion is both a homage to Bach and a deconstruction of Bach's music. "Song of Songs" is a 1940s composition, mostly tonal but still run through with cranky Americanisms. A diverse--and excellent--selection. (review by Paul Cook)
Piano Concertos, Elegy for Anne Frank
(Pacific Symphony Orchestra; Carl St. Clair, conductor)
Lukas Foss is an American music maverick who doesn't get the exposure he deserves. On this disc featuring his Piano Concertos and Elegy for Anne Frank, we get a glimpse of his varied talents. The lovely Concertos, written in the 1940s and '50s, are the perfect showpieces for Van Cliburn medalists Jon Nakamatsu and Yakov Kasman. The more recent Elegy for Anne Frank is even more impressive, with the composer at the piano and his daughter providing the narration.