The Free-Reed Review
Critiques of Compact Discs, Books and Music Scores
CD Review: Carmen Carrozza Plays
Paul Creston Concerto and Alan Hovhaness Rubaiyat
total time: 74:04
Carmen Carrozza Plays
Review by: Henry Doktorski
Accordionists have waited with great anticipation for this historic CD release of Carmen Carrozza playing the Paul Creston Concerto for Accordion and Orchestra with legendary conductor Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Symphony. Paul Creston may be the best-known American composer to write a concerto for accordion, and classical accordion lovers hungered to hear the concerto. Scores were published in the early 1960s and sold. I have sold one or two of these scores on my eBay store. But although we might enjoy looking through the score and attempting to play the incredibly difficult and daunting accordion part, we still wanted to hear the actual piece with accordion and orchestra. Periodically a cassette tape might surface with a poor recording of the Boston Symphony Hall concert, but the quality was terrible.
Then when Dr. Joseph A. Ciccone released the first Carrozza CD in 2002 which included Paul Creston's solo accordion work: Prelude and Dance, and works by other composers (Tcherepnin, Riegger, Hovhaness, Bach, Chopin & Mendelssohn) we wrote to Ciccone and begged: "When will you release the concert with the Paul Creston Concerto!?"
The anticipation was finally relieved during the August 2007 Coupe Mondiale in Alexandria, Virginia, when the great Carmen Carrozza made a guest appearance with several cases of the new Paul Creston Concerto CD and happily signed copies at a table outside the main concert hall. The CDs disappeared like hotcakes at a competitive eating contest. I was sitting at a table nearby offering my own CDs for sale and I enjoyed watching accordionists and accordion lovers from all over the world; Russia, China, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Slovenia, Canada, the U.S., etc., purchase Carrozza's new CD. I also purchased a case which I offer for sale at my eBay store, and I am extremely proud to be a distributor.
The CD is terrific. Total time is 74:04 and the 16-page CD booklet includes liner notes and historic photographs. The program is superb: the three movements of Paul Creston's concerto, Alan Hovhaness' The Rubaiyat with the New York Philharmonic, Andre Kostelanetz, conductor, and three live radio broadcasts in 1960, 1961 and 1963, during the height of Carrozza's fame. During this time he appeared as soloist with the Boston Pops Orchestra, the Cincinnati Orchestra, Buffalo Symphony Orchestra, and the National Symphony at Kennedy Center (Washington D.C.). He also appeared with the N.Y. Philharmonic under the direction of Andre Kostelanetz, premiering the "Rubaiyat", written by Alan Hovhaness and narrated by Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. in Washington DC and for former NYC Mayor John Lindsay in New York. He has concertized throughout Europe and was presented with a gold medal in Italy after an outstanding performance at the Teatro di Pavia. One of the high points in Mr. Carrozza's distinguished career was a concert in Town Hall in New York City where he performed all original accordion works by many outstanding American composers including Robert Russell Bennett, Paul Creston, Virgil Thompson and many others.
This CD will truly be a Treasure for the Library of the DiscriminatingClassical Accordion Connoisseur. Purchase from The-Classical-Free-Reed-Inc.
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