Howard Hanson leads the Eastman-Rochester Symphony with Jacques Gordon as violin soloist in the broadcast portion of the final concert from the 1946 Festival Of American Music.
Beginning with the first public performance of Robert Sanders Violin Concerto, with Jacques Gordon as solo. Continuing with the World Premier of Bernard Rogers‘ Four Drawings After Hans Christian Anderson and concluding with Hanson’s own Drum Taps, after Walt Whitman. The orchestra is joined by the Eastman School Choir combined with the Male Choir of the Rochester-Colgate Divinity School.
Needless to say, these are three pieces of music that have not been heard in the concert hall in a very long time. Some of Robert Sanders music has been recorded in recent years, Naxos has reissued the 1952 Hanson led Mercury recording, but the Bernard Rogers hasn’t as far as I can sort out. The Sanders Violin Concerto hasn’t been, as far as I can tell, issued commercially at all (I suspect I’ll be proved wrong on that).
I think it’s safe to say that, what used to be the case of American Classical music from the early-mid 20th century being completely ignored and forgotten isn’t so much anymore. Thanks to forward thinking labels and musicologists unearthing hidden gems, more American composers of that time period are being resurrected and their works performed than say, even 20 years ago. And whether you like this school of music or not, the fact that it’s being made available to some degree allows listeners to make up their own minds and make their own discoveries. Making it available is important – it enhances your musical experience. That’s why it’s always crucial to keep an open mind – you just never know what will hit you.