|Cover design by Robert Selnick|
Wallingford Riegger: Symphony No. 3, Op. 42
Eastman-Rochester Symphony Orchestra conducted by Howard Hanson
Recorded April 30, 1952
Side 1 of Columbia Masterworks ML-4902, one LP record
Link (FLAC files, 71.62 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 44.13 MB)
Quite unusual repertoire, too, for Howard Hanson to conduct - he tended to favor more conservative styles among his numerous recordings of American works. But his advocacy for Riegger is quite persuasive in this, one of his few Columbia recordings with the Eastman orchestra. By the time it was released in 1955, he was already a fixture at Mercury, and I suspect that the issue was delayed because there was nothing else "in the can" conducted by Hanson to pair it with. The Mennin symphony, conducted by Mitropoulos, was recorded two years later:
Peter Mennin: Symphony No. 3 (1946)
New York Philharmonic conducted by Dimitri Mitropoulos
Recorded February 1, 1954
Side 2 of Columbia Masterworks ML-4902, one LP record
Link (FLAC files, 63.24 MB)
Link (MP3 files, 38.04 MB)
I'm sorry to say that I can't summon as much enthusiasm for this work as for the Riegger, although I recognize the importance of Peter Mennin (1923-1989) as a symphonist (he was another in that long list of those who wrote nine, although I think he suppressed the first one). But I hear too many echoes of Vaughan Williams' inimitable Fourth Symphony in Mennin's first movement for comfort. Still, it's good solid music, quite impressive for a 23-year-old youngster, and of course it gets a superb performance from Mitropoulos and his orchestra.
Both of these recordings were reissued around 1970 by Composers Recordings, Inc., but unfortunately with fake stereo effect added. I would hope that they removed this for the CD reissues they made, but it's a moot point in any case, since CRI went bankrupt some ten years ago.