How “The New World Suite” was Discovered

The second Naxos recording of orchestral music by Ignatz Waghalter was released in May 2015.

Listen to brief excerpts to Mandragola overture and the Suite for Orchestra.

Mandragola Overture (1914)

Suite for Orchestra No. 1 (1939)

Suite for Orchestra No. 5 (1939)

Suite for Orchestra No. 8 (1939)

The story behind this release is remarkable. In 2012, Alexander Walker visited David Waghalter Green in Detroit to look through the boxes that contained what remained of his grandfather’s musical legacy. Buried in the bottom of one of the boxes, in a large manila envelop, Alex discovered a 200-page orchestral manuscript, written in Waghalter’s hand with ink and pencil. Coffee stains were visible on some of the pages. It was the orchestral work — composed for the American Negro Orchestra that he had founded — of which Waghalter had spoken in his interview with the Afro-American newspaper of Baltimore in a January 1939 interview.

As Alex slowly turned the pages of the score, Waghalter’s grandson asked, “What do you make of this work?”

“This is simply astonishing music, and it must be recorded,” he replied. Walker meant what he said. He threw himself into the project, and turned the unproofed handwritten draft into a performable printed score. And so, six months later, the New World Suite was recorded in Moscow.

The CD also contains the exuberant Overture and haunting Intermezzo composed by Waghalter for his 1914 comic opera, Mandragola. And finally, there is a rousing March that Waghalter composed in honor of President Thomas Masaryk of Czechoslovakia.

You can see the back cover of the CD with track information and read the liner notes for the CD at the Naxos website.