Anthony Newman | 4 Symphonies

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4 Symphonies

by Anthony Newman

While the classical symphony's structural frame seems fairly rigid, the large-scale nature of the genre gives a composer plenty of room in which to let ideas flow, to experiment, even to widen the boundaries imposed by tradition. Anthony Newman's four symphonies composed to date span several decades of his career and open up windows to the most varied sonic worlds and influences.
Genre: Classical: Symphony
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  Song Share Time Download
1. American Classic Symphony, No. 1: I. Allegro molto
Bach Works Chamber Orchestra & Anthony Newman
8:43 $0.99
2. American Classic Symphony, No. 1: II. Adagio and Hymn
Bach Works Chamber Orchestra & Anthony Newman
2:29 $0.99
3. American Classic Symphony, No. 1: III. Tango Tempo
Bach Works Chamber Orchestra & Anthony Newman
3:58 $0.99
4. American Classic Symphony, No. 1: IV. Presto
Bach Works Chamber Orchestra & Anthony Newman
7:39 $0.99
5. American Classic Symphony, No. 2: I. Allegro assai
Bach Works Chamber Orchestra & Anthony Newman
8:09 $0.99
6. American Classic Symphony, No. 2: II. Adagio
Bach Works Chamber Orchestra & Anthony Newman
4:08 $0.99
7. American Classic Symphony, No. 2: III. Blues
Bach Works Chamber Orchestra & Anthony Newman
3:52 $0.99
8. American Classic Symphony, No. 2: IV. Presto
Bach Works Chamber Orchestra & Anthony Newman
7:23 $0.99
9. Symphony No. 3: I. Allegro agitato
Bedford Chamber Orchestra & Benjamin Niemczyk
5:01 $0.99
10. Symphony No. 3: II. Largo
Bedford Chamber Orchestra & Benjamin Niemczyk
6:06 $0.99
11. Symphony No. 3: III. Toccata
Bedford Chamber Orchestra & Benjamin Niemczyk
5:08 $0.99
12. Symphony No. 4: I. Adagio and Allegro furioso
Milwaukee Symphony & Lukas Foss
14:33 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Symphony No. 1, composed in 1998, adheres closely to the classical symphonic form in four movements. It opens with a traditional quick movement, a bright Allegro molto in classical sonata form that might even allude to a time before the classical era in its instrumentation with shining brass. Firmly establishing the realm of C major, it is interwoven with light, lively flute, silver sprinkles of triangle, and it illuminates the full palette of orchestral colors in a transparent structure. The grand, majestic coda is again reminiscent of an earlier time with powerful brass and timpani. Dark, harsh orchestral colors, like the metallic gray of thunderclouds, open the Adagio and Hymn, yet immediately soften into a poignant melody and a dominant lower string line. The Hymn manifests itself in a grand brass melody over string arpeggios, evoking before the listeners inner eye the moment of those black clouds opening and the first rays of golden sun breaking through to the world below. While strictly still confirming with the classical symphonic outline, the third movement has a surprise in store: instead of the conventional Menuetto or Scherzo, Newman inserts a dance of a new world nature: the Tango. Making up one-half of the symphony's epithet "American Classic", this catchy melody offers both gripping rhythms and sweeping melodic arches. Great tonal color is passed on from the Tango to the final Presto, which immediately catches the listener's attention with the silvery glockenspiel that introduces the theme. Intertwining instrumental lines create harmonic agility and a great deal of movement, but the last bars are still firmly rooted in C and close the symphony in a straightforward way.

Like its predecessor, Symphony No. 2 also employs a classical style with a twist. Written in 2001, its opening movement, Allegro assai, sets the scene with busy strings. They form the ground of soloistic interjections, at times with a Gershwinesque touch, that flash up like individual faces of passing pedestrians that briefly come into focus in the bustle of a metropolitan rush hour. A melancholy line, supported by a slowly paced bass group, marks the Adagio. It briefly gains momentum, soon returns to its plaintive, pleading air yet ends in a major tonality. The well-known blues tune "Frankie and Johnny" lies at the heart of the third movement, Blues, the American dance always present in that typical blues bass, while the other instruments embellish and color around it. The music appears to move faster and become more dramatic in upwards fluttering strings before returning to the laid-back blues theme, thus creating some contrast to the Presto, whose driving opening comes with great impact. A focus on wind instruments brings more transparency; then the structure swings between single instruments and a dense, multitonal orchestral structure. Distant fanfares herald a big coda with timpani and full orchestral force.

Written as early as 1985, Symphony No. 3 came into existence long before numbers 1 and 2. It was to be recorded in Washington, DC in the following year - unluckily on the day the space shuttle Challenger exploded. The entire project was cancelled, the original symphony was transcribed for organ, but then re-orchestrated again to finally be captured on disc. Essentially a three-movement string symphony with percussion, it also features a piano in an extended continuo part not unlike Stravinsky's three-movement symphony, which occasionally gives its Allegro agitato a small ensemble feel before an increasing number of interweaving lines again creates a fuller orchestral texture. In contrast to the previous symphonies, No. 3 is also a lot less rooted in one tonality but fluctuates from one multitonal episode into another. While this is starkly obvious in the opening movement, the lack of tonal anchor creates a rather nocturnal atmosphere in the Largo when the cantilena of the solo voice grows from oscillating violins. Their movement spreads to a generally more agitated passage that extends to the melodic line, but the quiet, calm, almost magic mood regains the upper hand and leads to a serene ending that is clearly in major. This harmonic poise, however, does not last long; the regal Toccata introduction of flittering strings and majestic timpani dissipates the tonal center. The music again flirts heavily with non-tonality, and while it eventually does make concessions to tonality, it refuses a functional tonal center until the end.

Symphony No. 4, called Sinfonia, was also conceived in the 1980s and first performed on Easter Sunday 1988. From calling trumpets to wafting strings, this symphony makes full use of the orchestral forces within a single movement, Adagio and Allegro furioso. Contrasting ringing brass with grand sweeps, intensity builds in trills and discharges in massive orchestral strikes. A clear turn towards a major tonality precedes yet another dramatic buildup; then trills descend and lead to string pizzicatos reminiscent of a ballet score in their lightness of texture. Plucked piano strings, bird sounds and bells add an element of surreal calm after a great, tumbling descent, then the sound quality changes. The mood is suddenly driven with blocks of clustered organ chords and threatening orchestral trills. Swinging between the tension and release of stern clusters and a clearer tonality, the music builds once more in one great crescendo of repeated fragments and leads to a final strike to close the symphony.
Hedy Mühleck

Benjamin Niemczyk (1976- ) is a conductor, singer, and composer of uncommon range. He has performed with Anthony Newman, Hélène Grimaud, Ennio Morricone at Radio City Music Hall and the United Nations General Assembly, John Nelson, Marin Alsop, Harold Rosenbaum, Amy Kaiser, Frank Nemhauser, the Orchestra of St Lukes, The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and The Civic Orchestra of Chicago. He is conductor of Westchester Oratorio Society, New York Session Symphony, New Westchester Symphony Orchestra, Chrysalis Consort, and is Director of Music at St.Boniface Oratory Church in Brooklyn.

Lucas Foss (1922-2009) “..was an iconic member of the avant-garde in musical composition during the latter part of the last century. He was a brilliant and vibrant conductor and keyboard player, with whom I had the pleasure and honor of working with quite a few times.” - Anthony Newman
The German-born Foss was a prodigy who began piano and music theory lessons at the age of six. His teachers included Fritz Reiner, Sergei Koussevitzky, and Paul Hindemith. At 23, he was the youngest composer to be awarded a Guggenheim fellowship. He succeeded Arnold Schoenberg as professor of composition and conducting at UCLA. Mr. Foss’ extensive conducting career including leading many of the top orchestras in the world.

A prodigious a composer, Anthony Newman's works have been heard in Paris, Vienna, Budapest, Krakow, Warsaw, London, New York, and across the United States. His output includes 4 symphonies, 4 concerti, 3 large choral works, 2 operas, 4 CDs of piano music, and a large assortment of chamber, organ, and guitar works. Newman has received 33 consecutive annual composers awards from ASCAP. Mr. Newman’s works are published by Ellis Press.

As conductor, Anthony Newman has worked with the greats of chamber music orchestras: St. Paul Chamber, LA Chamber, Budapest Chamber, Scottish Chamber, and the 92nd St. Y Chamber Orchestras. Larger symphonic groups include: Seattle (over 40 appearances), Los Angeles, San Diego, Calgary, Denver, and New York Philharmonic.

Described by Wynton Marsalis as "The High Priest of Bach", and by Time Magazine as "The High Priest of the Harpsichord," Anthony Newman continues his 50+ year career as America's leading organist, harpsichordist and Bach specialist. His prodigious recording output includes more than 170 CDs on such labels as CBS, SONY, Deutsche Grammaphon, and Vox Masterworks. He has performed more than sixty times at Lincoln Center in New York, and has collaborated with many of the greats of music: Kathleen Battle, Itzhak Perlman, Eugenia Zukerman, Wynton Marsalis, John Nelson, Jean-Pierre Rampal, James Levine, Lorin Mazel, Mstislav Rostropovich, Seji Osawa, and Leonard Bernstein.



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