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Hanson’s symphonic cycle reached a profound spiritual crux at the time of the Fourth Symphony, which was written, in effect, as a Requiem for his father. It journeys from turbulence to the simplicity of resolution, in a way both characteristic and also deeply moving. The Fifth Symphony also evokes religious imagery in a tautly structured, richly atmospheric canvas. The Lutheran element surfaces too in Dies Natalis, whilst Hanson’s admiration for Serge Koussevitzky is marked by the Elegy he wrote for the conductor. “Schwarz’s commitment to the music is evident in every bar: you really can take the quality, not least of his marvellous orchestra, for granted.” (Gramophone on the original Delos release)
Howard Hanson: Symphony No. 4, Op. 34, "The Requiem"
I. Kyrie: Andante inquieto
II. Requiescat: Largo
III. Dies irae: Presto
IV. Lux aeterna: Largo pastorale
Howard Hanson: Symphony No. 5, Op. 43, "Sinfonia sacra"
Symphony No. 5, Op. 43, "Sinfonia sacra"
Howard Hanson: Elegy in Memory of Serge Koussevitsky
Elegy in Memory of Serge Koussevitsky
Howard Hanson: Dies natalis I
Introduction and Chorale: Maestoso
Variation 1: Poco piu mosso
Variation 2: Allegro
Variation 3: Pesante
Variation 4: Andante calmo, nel modo Gregoriano
Variation 5: Allegro feroce
Variation 6: Larghetto semplice
Variation 7: Allegro tempestuoso
Finale: Poco a poco ritardando al tempo giusto
“This disc demonstrates how both Gregorian chant and the Lutheran chorale undergird the structure of many of Hanson’s works”
25th January 2012
“Hanson apparently regarded the Fourth, (1943), composed as a requiem for his father, as his finest work, while the single-movement Fifth, completed 11 years later, was subtitled Sinfonia Sacra. Both are imposing, economical works with an austerity that emphasises their debt to Sibelius”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.