HAMPSON SISLER: CLASSICS, ECLECTIC
Johann Sebastian Bach, Hampson Sisler, Johann Sebastian • Bach
ARKADY LEYTUSH, conductor
NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA OF UKRAINE
World Premiere Recordings
FEATURE ARTICLE IN THE ORGAN - SPRING 2015 [ISSUE NO. 371]
"Leave it to MSR to create unusual and interesting albums. This one features two Bach transcriptions by conductor Arkady Leytush, done in the best Stokowski manner (honestly, they could have been done by him, though we have a direct comparison in the Chaconne, and Stokowski wins) and the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine plays them brilliantly... The meat of this program is dedicated to Hampson Sisler, a composer I did not know, but evidently is being championed by MSR, this being the fourth release featuring his music. These pieces, devoted to a musical depiction of the “Big Bang” (assuming it happened) and to global warming might fit on a “Hearts of Space” program; not that it’s particularly meditative, but the vast canvass Sisler paints on has that hard-to-pin-down but unmistakable coloration of “space” music. Parts of Thermals, Rising reminded me of the soundtrack to Close Encounters of the Third Kind and some of the film music of Bernard Hermann, while The Big Bang avoids the more overtly obvious connotations of the subject and instead focuses on an almost impressionistic portrayal of what is almost impossible to imagine.
Overall this is an interesting disc with a composer whose works merit more attention. The sound, like so many MSR discs, sounds to me very analog-like, though always clear and pure, and that will be a plus to many as well."
Steve Ritter, Audiophile Audition - January 2012
"The music is cinematic in character and orchestrated colorfully... The performances seem definitive and the sound is good. The solo organ part is well played by Valery Michailuk".
Carson Cooman, Fanfare - May/June 2010
American composer, organist and choral conductor, HAMPSON SISLER
, has more than 100 works to his credit, including pieces for organ, chorus, concert band, chamber and symphony orchestra. Sisler, who, at the age of seventeen, was the youngest person ever to be awarded the American Guild of Organists’ coveted Fellowship status, has had performances of his works given by Samuel Wong of the Honolulu and Hong Kong Symphony Orchestras, Marlon Daniel of the Ensemble du Monde and Prague Symphonietta Chamber Orchestras, Volodymyr Sirenko, Principal Conductor of The National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine and by Arkady Leytush. Sisler’s works have been performed in cities all over the world, including Buenos Aires, Porto, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev, Odessa, Prague, Honolulu, Yalta and Hkarkov City in Ukraine, and in New York City at Tenri Hall, and at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully and Merkin Halls. In New York, a partial premiere of his 14-movement work for large orchestra and organ, Milestones, took place at Alice Tully Hall under the baton of Leytush with Frank Morana at the organ. Solo and duo cantatas, commissioned by Daniel, have been premiered at Merkin Hall. As an organ recitalist, Sisler has given performances in and around New York City, including at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Beginning in 1945, Sisler has been serving as Music Director at more than a dozen churches in the greater New York area, including the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn and Metropolitan-Duane United Methodist Church in Manhattan, where he held the post for more than sixteen years. He is currently Music Director at Central Presbyterian Church, NYC—a post held by Charles Ives more than 100 years ago—and is also the official organist for the Doctors’ Orchestral Society of New York.
One of Russia’s most gifted conductors, Arkady Leytush
has directed orchestras in Europe and the United States to great acclaim. Critics have described him as a conductor in the Grand Russian Tradition” and his interpretations have made him an audience favorite. Leytush’s artistry is known throughout the former Soviet Union, but it was not until 1994 that he gained recognition in the United States when he, on a week’s notice, made a stunning debut with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, replacing Yuri Temirkanov. Since 1980, Leytush has worked with a wide variety of orchestras, including Novosibirsk Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre (Russia), New World Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, New York Chamber Symphony, Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra, Orquestra Filarmonica de Buenos Aires, Orquestra Nacional Do Porto, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Academic Symphony Orchestra, Plovdiv Philharmonic, Kremlin Orchestra, Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra and Varna Philharmonic Orchestra. Mr. Leytush is Artistic Director of the Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra (New Jersey), conductor of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, Music Director of the Interfaith Committee of Remembrance and Music Director of the Nathan Rakhlin International Festival in Yalta (Ukraine). Arkady Leytush has made numerous transcriptions and orchestrations of music by composers such as JS Bach, Buxtehude, Mussorgsky, Rachmaninov, Chopin, Albéniz, Sisler, Czerny, Guastavino, Shostakovich, Borodin, Liadov, Cui, Rimsky-Korsakov, Glazunov, Dargomyzhski, Artsibushev, Sokolov and Mayer.
THE BIG BANG
(Orchestrated by Arkady Leytush)
The Void / The Bang / Mountains, Valleys, Plains / Lakes, Rivers, Seas / Forests, Deserts, Fields / Planets, Moons, Space
THERMALS, RISING (Orchestrated by Arkady Leytush)
Gasses, Fluming / Flora, Flaming /
Fauna, Stressing / Ozone, Shifting /
Glaciers, Melting / Mass, Dissolving
JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH
PRELUDE AND FUGUE IN C MINOR, BWV.546 (Orchestrated by Arkady Leytush)
CHACONNE from Partita in D minor for Violin, BWV 1004 (Orchestrated by Rakhlin-Leytush)