Harold Shapero: Symphony for Classical Orchestra
Liner Notes   Cat. No. 80373     Release Date: 1988-01-01

Los Angeles Philharmonic, André Previn

For nearly 40 years, the name Harold Shapero (b 1920) was little more than a footnote in the growing ledger of American composers. In December 1986, however, a dramatic change occurred. Under the auspices of AT&T's American Encore program, which supported performances of neglected American works, André Previn and the Los Angeles Philharmonic introduced Shapero's 1947 Symphony for Classical Orchestra to its audiences, bringing to life an expansive score of immense strength, vitality and deeply felt expressiveness. Shapero rightly became the focus of widespread attention—a composer rediscovered captured the imagination of the musical fraternity, and of the public as well.

On hearing the symphony, the Los Angeles audiences responded with enthusiasm that matched Previn's. In fact, the conductor's extremely high regard for the work—he has called the Adagietto the most beautiful slow movement of any American symphony—resulted in an unusual programming move: He scheduled it again for the following season (April 1988, at which time the present recording was made) and then took it on tour to the East Coast for performances in Carnegie Hall and in New Haven.

The Nine-Minute Overture, Shapero's first orchestral piece, was written in 1940, while he was a student of Walter Piston at Harvard. The influence of his teacher is apparent in the overture's neoclassic style, in its formal repetitiveness, and in its Piston-generated animation. Shapero points out that the work owes a special debt to Piston's Piano Concertino.

Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra

Harold Shapero: Symphony for Classical Orchestra

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Track Listing

Nine-Minute Overture
Harold Shapero
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Symphony for Classical Orchestra: I. Adagio; Allegro
Harold Shapero
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Symphony for Classical Orchestra: II. Adagietto
Harold Shapero
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Symphony for Classical Orchestra: III. Scherzo
Harold Shapero
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Symphony for Classical Orchestra: IV. Finale: Allegro con spirito
Harold Shapero
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