Grofe/Herbert

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COMPOSERS: Grofe/Herbert
LABELS: Mercury Living Presence
WORKS: Grand Canyon Suite; Mississippi Suite; Cello Concerto No. 2 in E minor
PERFORMER: Georges Miquelle (cello); Eastman-Rochester Orchestra/Howard Hanson
CATALOGUE NO: 434 355-2 ADD (1957/58)
Ferde Grofé is best known for orchestrating Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and for this suite detailing America’s greatest natural wonder. As a matter of fact, the movement titles – ‘Sunrise’, ‘Sunset’, ‘Cloudburst’, ‘The Painted Desert’ and so on – are a good deal more evocative than the music itself. No one could deny, however, Grofé’s nifty orchestration, both here and in the Mississippi Suite.

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As the work which inspired Dvorák, cellist-cum-light-opera-composer Victor Herbert’s Second Concerto (1894) is a thoroughly professional piece of work, though once again the thematic material is less strong than the writing. Composer Howard Hanson conducts these 1957-8 performances enthusiastically. The sound is wonderful. George Hall