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Culture Watch: Henry Brant's 'A Concord Symphony' and Copland's Organ Symhony in new recording by San Francisco Symphony

March 29, 2011 |  6:00 am

Images Ives/Brant: “A Concord Symphony” and Copland: Organ Symphony 

(SFS Media)

We are in a “Concord” moment. Pianist Jeremy Denk’s lucid recording of Charles Ives’ “Concord” Sonata last year was a hit, and Carnegie Hall has him playing it twice this season. Last week, Italian pianist Emanuele Arciuli gave a stunningly sonic reading of the Ives’ great sonata at REDCAT.

Now the San Francisco Symphony has released a live recording of Michael Tilson Thomas conducting Henry Brant’s flamboyant if overbearing orchestration of the sonata, played to the hilt.

But the real knockout is the companion piece, Aaron Copland’s Organ Symphony, written when he was 23 and banging down the Modernist doors with his jazziness and serious contemplation. The performance, with Paul Jacobs as organist, is brilliant.


More Culture Watch picks from Times writers

-- Mark Swed