DAVID DIAMOND (1915-2005): Symphony No. 6 (World Premiere Recording), Music for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Rounds for String Orchestra.

Catalogue Number: 05T063

Label: Naxos

Reference: 8.559842

Format: CD

Price: $11.98

Description: The Sixth Symphony is one of Diamond's toughest, most dramatic and tense symphonies. The outer movements in particular have much of the character of a 'war symphony', though there seems to be no evidence that Diamond intended the 1951 work as anything of the sort. The symphony received a rather hostile reaction when it was premiered in 1957 (there were scattered boos at the performance and some very negative press), but this is hard to understand as the piece is neither reactionary and old-fashioned, nor especially thorny harmonically - yes, there was a greater tendency toward increased chromaticism and even some flirtation with serial techniques in Diamond's later years, but this piece is basically tonal and not by any means worlds away from the sort of thing that Harris, Antheil and even Piston were doing around that time, and far short of the modernity of Sessions. As usual with Diamond, the work is tightly internally organised, with a cyclic treatment of themes from the first movement throughout the other two. The first movement is vigorous and stormy, and even its slow sections offer little repose; the slow movement is very tense, and repeatedly assailed by disruptive, fast interjections derived from the first movement, and the finale comprises an introduction, a robust passacaglia and an energetic fugue. The other (somewhat) more familiar works from a few years earlier are more in line with the more traditional neo-Romanticism with which Diamond is widely associated. Indiana University Chamber Orchestra, Indiana University Philharmonic Orchestra; Arthur Fagen.

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