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Alla Breve

July 24, 1988|ALLAN ULRICH

CARPENTER: "SKYSCRAPERS." PAINE: PRELUDE TO "OEDIPUS TYRANNUS." MacDOWELL: "LAMIA." FOOTE. SUITE FOR STRINGS. BUCK: FESTIVAL OVERTURE ON "THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER." London Symphony conducted by Kenneth Klein. Angel 49263-2 (compact disc). In this valuable collection, Klein traces the refinement of a distinctively native orchestral sound by American composers of the so-called "Eastern school" over a 75-year period. Carpenter's exuberant 1924 ballet, with its industrial-strength infusions of jazz, encapsulates its period and transcends it. Foote's elegiac suite matches technical sophistication and lyric individuality, and the Buck variations insouciantly contrapuntalize the national anthem. But Paine's prelude, written for a Sophocles revival at Harvard, and MacDowell's Keats-inspired tone poem mine the depleted Schumann-Grieg mother lode with academic facility and minimal inspiration. Klein brings impassioned advocacy to this soundly engineered, well-filled (67-minute) CD.

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