Friday, September 3, 2010

Griffes: Poem for Flute and Orchestra

Here is something that will delight flute fans and fans of American music: the first-ever recording of the impressionistic Poem for Flute and Orchestra, composed in 1918 by Charles Tomlinson Griffes (1884-1920), who is pictured above.  It is played, magnificently, by Joseph Mariano (1911-2007), Professor of Flute at the Eastman School of Music from 1935 to 1974, with Eastman's director, Howard Hanson, leading the Eastman-Rochester Symphony Orchestra.  This is from a somewhat battered copy of Victor 11-8349, recorded May 8, 1942 - and not helped by the fact that it was pressed during World War II in recycled shellac!  But the beauty of the performance, I think, makes up for the less-than-perfect sound.

Link (FLAC file, 23.26 MB)
Link (MP3 file, 10.2 MB)

Arguably, no other man ever did more for the cause of American classical music than Howard Hanson, who once estimated that over 2,000 works by 500 American composers (including, of course, himself) were premiered in Rochester during his 40-year tenure as director of the Eastman School.  Earlier I posted to RMCR several of Hanson's early Victor recordings with the Eastman-Rochester Orchestra, including two of his own works.  These are still available for download.  The details:

Howard Hanson: The Lament for Beowulf, Op. 25
with the Eastman School Choir
Recorded May 7, 1941
Spencer Norton: Prologue from Dance Suite
Recorded May 9, 1941
Victor set DM-889, three 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 52.27 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 25.72 MB)

Howard Hanson: Symphony No. 1 in E minor, Op. 21 ("Nordic")
Recorded May 7, 1942
Victor set DM-973, three 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC files, 65.99 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 29.36 MB)

Charles Martin Loeffler: A Pagan Poem, Op. 14 (after Virgil)
Piano obbligato: Irene Gedney; English horn: Richard Swingly
Recorded May 10, 1941
Victor set DM-876, three 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC file, 56.21 MB)
Link (MP3 file, 27.85 MB)


  1. Very nice, Bryan. Great stuff and a fine tribute both to Mariano and Hanson (not to mention Griffes).

  2. Many thanks Bryan. This fills out my transfer of Americana for strings and winds with Hanson on an ancient Mercury lp - not as ancient as this 78 tho.
    Don Rice

  3. Bryan...I can't seem to get the Loeffler (Pagan Poem). Do you know if the MediaFire link is still active? Could be just a "glitch". You don't see too many recordings of this. I only know of one that was released by Stokowski, many years ago, on LP, along with Schoenberg's "Verklarte Nacht".


  4. Hey Gil, I just tried the Mediafire link and it's still good. Mediafire is apt to be cranky at times, especially with older browsers.

    I do plan on re-uploading the Loeffler later today - I just discovered I have a second copy of this set and this time it has the booklet, so I'll be scanning that booklet and making it available too.

  5. Bryan...that's an excellent performance, by Howard Hanson and orchestra, in the Loeffler. It's too bad he couldn't have redone this for his Mercury LP sessions.