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 American Classics

American Classics is a new series from EMI which will feature, over several releases, recordings of as many different American composers as is possible. These will be single CD releases and, where possible, 2-CD sets, of music of different genres, including symphonies, concertos and purely orchestral works with some instrumental, chamber, song and opera.

Before the 20th century, there was very little in the way of American concert music. There was a handful of composers who were notable exceptions but these almost always followed the European compositional traditions. Not until the arrival of Charles Ives (1874-1954) could America boast an original, native-born, composer of it's own.

The close of the old and the advent of the new century saw the births of a whole generation of world-class composers who, although they might have studied in Europe, represented a new and original voice for American Music. The very first year of the new century brought with it the birth, in New York City, of possibly the best-known of them all, Aaron Copland. Samuel Barber, Roy Harris, Walter Piston, Elliott Carter, William Schuman, Virgil Thomson and George Gershwin were all born by 1910 and put American music on the world map.

Only one of the above-mentioned composers is still with us today and in 2008 Elliott Carter will celebrate his 100th birthday. We are pleased to include in this first issue of American Classics a programme of works by Carter.

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  • David Schifrin, Mark Hill & Neil Baum

    New York Chamber Symphony, Gerard Schwarz

    David Shifrin's account of the Clarinet Concerto is among the best, the opening radiant in timbre and showing a natural fluency of phrasing, the later jazzy elements also well caught. More…

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  • Leon McCawley (piano)

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  • George Dvorsky, Thomas Hampson, Jeanne Lehman, Rebecca Luker, Lydia Milá & Hugh Panaro

    London Sinfonietta Chorus & London Sinfonietta, John McGlinn

    This is a bumper bag of the master Jerome Kern's greatest songs from the 1910s to the '40s and in their original orchestrations. A younger Thomas Hampson is a winner with 'The Song is You'. More…

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  • Orchestra of St. Luke's, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra & City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Paavo Järvi, Leonard Slatkin, Simon Rattle & Dennis Russell Davies

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  • Ransom Wilson

    London Chamber Orchestra, Christopher Warren-Green & Michael Tilson-Thomas

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  • Rodgers & Hart: Songs from the Shows

    Frederica von Stade

    Ambrosian Singers & London Symphony Orchestra, John McGlinn

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  • Deborah Voigt, Brian Zeger, Glenn Dictenow, Alan Staphansky & Israela Margalit

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  • Jeffrey Kahane (piano)

    Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Litton

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