American Mavericks: Cowell, Harrison, Varèse

San Francisco Symphony

The latest release from Michael Tilson Thomas and the Grammy® award-winning San Francisco Symphony features stunning live recordings from the SFS's wildly successful American Mavericks festival.

Michael Tilson Thomas finds profundity in these Americans, and brings a reverent care and finesse to their music. The San Francisco Symphony plays with extraordinary delicacy, which makes the tumultuous movements such as the ending of Varèse’s Amériques all the more overwhelming. Jeremy Denk’s performance of Cowell’s Piano Concerto is incisive and delicate, but the revelation of this CD is Lou Harrison’s little-known and enchantingly mysterious Concerto for Organ with Percussion Orchestra.

- Ivan Hewett, Daily Telegraph

Presented in premium audio hybrid SACD, American Mavericks includes performances of four works by three influential but seldom heard twentieth century masters. Performances of Henry Cowell’s Synchrony and his Piano Concerto, with Jeremy Denk on piano, combine Cowell’s distinctive musical language with exceptionally expressive playing to produce a powerful musical experience. Lou Harrison’s eclectic compositional style and organ soloist Paul Jacobs’s spectacular virtuosity are on full display in Harrison’s Concerto for Organ with Percussion orchestra. This one-of-a-kind disc concludes with Edgard Varèse’s monumental Amériques and the orchestral siren that has influenced generations of composers.


San Francisco Symphony
Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor
Jeremy Denk, piano
Paul Jacobs, organ

HENRY COWELL (1897-1965)
Synchrony 13:38
Piano Concerto 14:53
I. Polyharmony 3:48
II. Tone Cluster 7:07
III. Counter Rhythm 3:58

LOU HARRISON (1917-2003)
Concerto for Organ with Percussion Orchestra 23:00
I. Allegro 5:47
II. Andante (Siciliana in the form of a double canon) 2:10
III. Largo 6:56
IV. Canons and Choruses (Moderato) 3:10
V. Allegro (Finale) 4:51

EDGARD VARÈSE (1883-1965)
Amériques (1927 version) 22:02
Total: 73:23

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