German composer Paul Hindemith wrote concertos for nearly every instrument in the orchestra. Here you get a concert for one of the most common instruments, the violin, along with two distinctively textured orchestral works, the giant Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by C.M. von Weber and the somewhat obscure Konzertmusik für Streichorchester und Blechbläser (Concert Music for Strings and Brass Instruments), the earliest piece on the program (it was written in 1930).
Alan Parsons was 19 years old when he landed a job at the world famous Abbey Road Studios, an important first step on his journey to becoming a world class engineer, producer and artist. Following his beginnings with George Martin and The Beatles, his contribution to Pink Floyd's classic 'The Dark Side Of The Moon' earned him worldwide attention. As a producer he had many hits with Pilot, John Miles, Ambrosia and Al Stewart. Together with his manager and creative partner at the time, Eric Woolfson, he developed the Alan Parsons Project. Following their debut album "Tales Of Mystery And Imagination" (1976), they released a series of hit albums; namely "I Robot" (1977), "Pyramid" (1978), "The Turn of a Friendly Card" (1980), "Eye in the Sky" (1982), "Ammonia Avenue" (1984), "Vulture Culture" (1985)…
A wide orchestral palette and stirring reserves of drama are used to evoke the youthful audacity and death of Phaéton, the ultimate triumph of virtue over pleasure in La Jeunesse d’Hercule (‘The Youth of Hercules’), and Hercules’ punishment, spinning wool while dressed as a woman, for the ‘inadvertent murder’ of one of his guests, in Le Rouet d’Omphale (‘The Spinning Wheel of Omphale’). The ever-popular Danse macabre is a spooky depiction of Death playing a dance on his fiddle on a tomb in a graveyard surrounded by skeletal dancers. Conductor Jun Märkl specialises in twentieth-century French music for Naxos and has earned international plaudits for his multi-volume Debussy series as well as for his Ravel and Messiaen discs.
Sousa, the American master of the march, also enjoyed great prestige in the realm of operetta. The suite from The American Maid, set in a glass factory and culminating in scenes based on the 1898 Spanish-American War, was among the first theatrical shows to employ actual film footage. The beautiful quintet from his early operetta The Smugglers was scored for his eminent brass virtuosi. The medley of drinking songs called A Mingling of the Wets and the Drys was composed during Prohibition, while the unusual and previously unrecorded March of the Pan Americans – Part One celebrates the independent nations of North and South America in 1915 with zest and elan.