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Diamond: Symphonies Nos. 2 and 4, Concerto for Small Orchestra

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Diamond: Symphonies Nos. 2 and 4, Concerto for Small Orchestra

Current Status:
In Season
Gerard Schwarz

We gave it an A

The recent surge of rediscovery of the American symphonic past, sparked largely by Gerard Schwarz’s recordings with his almost first-rate Seattle Symphony, has called composer David Diamond, now 76, out of the shadows. Along with his departed contemporaries Walter Piston and Roy Harris, both also beneficiaries of Schwarz’s revivalist efforts, Diamond celebrated America’s final breakaway from the need to imitate European models. His expressive, terse orchestral music was the work of an authentic tone poet. The three pieces on Diamond: Symphonies No.2 and 4, Concerto for Small Orchestra date from 1940-45: bristling, energetic neoclassic exercises, not exactly earthshaking in their originality, perhaps, but extremely well constructed. Most striking is the 1942 Second Symphony, with its two intense and extended slow movements and its marvelous kaleidoscope of bright-colored sounds at the end. America’s musical heritage teems with music of this quality; its revival by Schwarz and other ardent explorers is a cause for pride. A