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Leroy Anderson: Orchestral Music, Vol. 3 ()

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The surprises just keep on coming in Naxos' excellent Leroy Anderson: Orchestral Works series, of which this is volume 3, performed, like its predecessors, by the BBC Concert Orchestra under Leonard Slatkin. Some hardcore Anderson fanatics might recall Alma Mater (1954), a staid and respectful homage to Anderson's own alma mater Harvard University. But chances are even they have never heard its predecessor, Harvard Sketches (1939), which is far more irreverent and striking; the movement "Widener Reading Room" could pass for something right out of Charles Ives: placid strings are interrupted by the murmuring winds (students) and chastened by an ever more impatiently rapping ruler. This points up an interesting sidelight about Anderson; while experimental elements were not entirely foreign to his musical thinking -- after all, even pieces like The Typewriter are a little experimental within its own context -- he didn't really want to be seen that way, so he held the experiments back. Melody on Two Notes... Hide synopsis

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