It’s always a pleasure to listen to favorite music again and to nibble a little of that proverbial “ear candy.” The same goes for composers who, at any and all times, collected folk songs and dances on the streets, as it were, in order to incorporate them into their own works. The Americans are no exception and they have always dug busily for musical roots in their territories, as one can see from the numbers “Mexican Rhapsody,” “Kentucky Mountains” and “Savannah River Holiday.” Muted sounds are not to be found here, for the Hi-Fi Fiesta is celebrated with orchestral fireworks, which stress their close relationship with film music. A powerful string sound, paired with salvos from the blaring brass and thunderous drum rolls are just as characteristic of these spirited, effervescent works as are the lyrical, cantabile passages which reach ethereal heights with violin harmonics (“Mexican Rhapsody”). The Eastman-Rochester Orchestra, which here honors two former pupils of the Eastman School of Music – Robert McBride and Ron Nelson – performs the present collection with great spirit and a maximum of glorious sound.
2. Ron Nelson: Savannah River Holiday
3. Lyndol Coleman Mitchell: Kentucky Mountain Portraits
4. Charles G. Vardell: Joe Clark Steps Out