|Christoph Eschenbach and the National Symphony Orchestra make their first recording together, a live recording of the concerts the National Symphony performed during the Kennedy Center's celebration of the 50th anniversary of the John F. Kennedy Inaugural.|
| GRAMMY WINNER!
Corigliano: Of Rage and Remembrance
A must for every classical collection! Hear the National Symphony Orchestra on their Grammy-winning recording.
| Joseph Schwantner
Leonard Slatkin leads the National Symphony Orchestra through several of Joseph Schwanter's exciting pieces for marimba and percussion and orchestra. Features Evelyn Glennie on solo marimba and percussion, with narration by Vernon E. Jordan, Jr.
A musical stocking stuffer! Need to pick the perfect gift for your classical music fan? Choose the new
release from the National Symphony Orchestra with Leonard Slatkin, music director, Prokofiev: 6th
Symphony, Suite from the Love for Three Oranges.
|Kamen: The New Moon in the Old Moon's Arms
Kamen's first symphonic concert work was commissioned and recorded by Leonard Slatkin and The National Symphony Orchestra in Washington DC to celebrate the new millennium.
The National Symphony Orchestra's active recording history spans the entire seventy-three seasons of its existence. Virtually its entire catalog was recorded by its music directors; an important exception is Leonard Bernstein's Songfest, written for the bicentennial of the United States, recorded under the composer's direction in 1977.
The numerous recordings made under the direction of founding music director Hans Kindler, issued on 78 r.p.m. discs on the old Victor label, were noteworthy for their wide range of repertoire (Scriabin Etudes arranged for orchestra, Brahms Symphony No. 3, Weinberger's Czech Rhapsody, Don Juan by Richard Strauss, Jarnefelt's Berceuse and Praeludium, and the inimitably named Prelude and Hula by Hawaiian composer Dai-Keong Lee). Living composers and American composers were well-represented: two of the earliest recordings were of works by George Whitefield Chadwick and William Schuman (whose American Festival Overture was actually brand-new when it was first recorded by the National Symphony Orchestra). Another living American composer represented on record was Mary Howe, who played an active role in establishing the National Symphony Orchestra.
Under Kindler's successor, Howard Mitchell, the NSO's recording life became increasingly active, with continued emphasis on repertoire by living composers and works by Americans. In the post-World War II era, the Orchestra's discography echoed the cultural exchange then taking place between the US and the USSR. Shostakovich's First and Fifth symphonies were both recorded, with the composer one among many Soviet artists who appeared with the Orchestra and were entertained by official Washington. American composers whose music was committed to disk by the NSO included Paul Creston, John Alden Carpenter, Louis Gottschalk, Morton Gould, Ferde Grofe, Howard Hanson, Charles Griffes, Mary Howe, Edward MacDowell, and a host of others.
By far, however, the NSO recording projects of the most enduring significance made during this era were undertaken with RCA. Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic's Young People's Concerts were on the air; in the classroom were Howard Mitchell and the National Symphony Orchestra. The dozen-volume "Adventures in Music," issued with teaching materials designed for use by elementary school teachers in Grades 1 - 6 (for students aged 6 through 11), was unprecedented. "Instruments of the Orchestra" followed, as well as "Music That Paints a Picture." As school budget cuts forced the loss of teachers in the arts in subsequent decades, these recordings stayed in use by teachers who were non-specialists, slowing the drain of the arts from American public education.
It was under Antal Dorati, internationally recognized for his work as an orchestra builder, that the recording industry began to accord prestigious honors to NSO recordings. Dorati, by then an American citizen, continued the NSO's support of works by living and American composers. France awarded the NSO's recording of Olivier Messiaen's La Transfiguration de Notre Seigneur Jesus-Christ the Prix du President de la Republique. The recording of Luigi Dallapiccola's Il Prigioniero earned the Grand Prix du Charles Cros. (Both recordings were on the London label.) A choral work by Robert Russell Bennett, inspired by the music of the 18th-century American hymnist William Billings, was paired with William Schuman's New England Triptych in honor of the American bicentennial.
The NSO recordings during the regime of Mstislav Rostropovich were distinguished by the same focus the Russian musician brought to his music directorship as a whole. Exiled by his own country, Rostropovich was committed to sharing with the West the musical heritage of his native land. It was during the NSO's 1985 European Tour that one critic wrote, "I am tempted to proclaim Washington's National Symphony Orchestra the finest Soviet orchestra in the world." A complete cycle of Shostakovich symphonies -- split between the London Symphony Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra -- was a natural extension of the Orchestra's commitment to the music of its time. Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov earned a Grammy nomination for Best Opera Recording. Also recorded was the first of the remarkable series of Hechinger Commissions -- Stephen Albert's RiverRun -- which earned the Pulitzer Prize for Music. One of the most triumphant performances of this era was recorded live: sixteen years after Rostropovich had been forced to depart the USSR, he returned, leading the National Symphony Orchestra in a Russian/American program, recorded live by Sony Classical, ending with the Moscow Conservatory audience clapping along to Sousa's The Stars and Stripes Forever.
With Leonard Slatkin's arrival, the National Symphony Orchestra returned to RCA for three more discs. The first collaboration to be released won the 1996 Grammy for Best Classical Album. In keeping with the NSO's heritage and Leonard Slatkin's goals, that recording was devoted to the music of a living American composer: John Corigliano. The second collaboration - Music of Joseph Schwantner, was nominated for the Grammy for Best Instrumental Soloist with Orchestra. Released in August 1998 was a disc of the music of Sergei Prokofiev. Decca Records released Michael Kamen's The New Moon in the Old Moon's Arms in 2001, featuring the NSO and Leonard Slatkin.
Future projects are under discussion with several labels.