Remy Franck (Pizzicato), June 2015:

Enjoyable music, impeccably recorded. With ten short movements the New World Suite is a lively and charming work of rich melodic fantasy.

© 2015 Pizzicato


Bruce Reader (The Classical Reviewer), June 2015:

Alexander Walker and the New Russia State Symphony Orchestra provide very fine performances and are nicely recorded.

© 2015 The Classical Reviewer
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Steven A. Kennedy (Cinemusical), June 2015:

The music here…shows off the soloists of the orchestra and the players here seem to manage to get a sense of the musical style. Overall, the release is a…delightful collection of music introducing this composer’s music and making one want to further explore his other work. The New World Suite is in and of itself a rather unique curiosity that warrants picking up the disc.

© 2015 Cinemusical
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Bob McQuiston (Classical Lost and Found), May 2015:

Their (Walker’s and NRSSO’s) superb renditions of these selections once again prove Waghalter to be a significant romantic discovery.

The instrumental timbre is characterized by brilliant highs, a pleasing midrange, and clean bass.

© 2015 Classical Lost and Found
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David Denton (David’s Review Corner), May 2015:

Born of impoverished Polish Jewish parents, the immense musical gifts of Ignatz Waghalter took him to Berlin as a well-known conductor and an admired composer. Then came the Nazi era, Waghalter fleeing to the United States in 1937—where he had already worked—and there embarked on some misguided ventures, not least the formation of an Afro-American orchestra. By the time of his death in 1949, aged just 68, he was impoverished and largely forgotten. In happier times Waghalter had become known as an opera conductor, giving many German premieres, including Puccini’s Girl of the Golden West, while his own operas were very well received. The year 1914 saw the first performance of his comic opera Mandagola being presented before a very distinguished audience. The newspaper reviews were ecstatic, and you only have to listen to the two gorgeous excepts on this disc to understand that response.

Go forward twenty-five years and stylistically nothing had changed in the New World Suite, a score only discovered in 2013. It was still in the same light, frothy and happy mode, though I could find little relationship between the music and some of the titles of the ten sections. When I reached the Hymn and Variations, which sounded rather like an off-shoot of the popular song The last time I say Paris, I gave up trying and sat back to enjoy a work that has passing relationships with Shostakovich’s excursions into light music. The disc ends in military band fashion with the stirring, Masaryk’s Peace March, composed in 1935 in honour of the Czech president. Throughout the New Russia State Symphony Orchestra play superbly in capturing the mood of the music, Alexander Walker keeping the tempos moving forward with admirable zest and fun. Top drawer sound quality.

© 2015 David’s Review Corner


Harry van der Wal (Harry’s classical music corner), May 2015:

The second cd by this composer that Naxos released. The first volume I missed when released, so when I bought the second volume I redressed that.

Waghalter is an original and very able composer whose neglect riddles me no end. Yes he is tonal, with no modernities in his music, but does that matter? His music is fabulous, and makes listening a feast. A composer that was praised by such luminaries, as Richard Strauss, Joseph Joachim, Friedrich Gernsheim, Ferrucio Busoni and Engelbert Humperdinck, and many more. That must mean something, and it means something. You know it at the latest when you start listening to his music.

The kaleidoscopic character of his music that captures almost all moments of real time experience, his inexhaustible imagination for melody, his compositional technique, which makes his scoring a joy to hear, his acute awareness as a Jew of the world around him, his reaction to the anti semitism which confronted him everywhere, and to which he took a stance wherever that was necessary, all this and more, made him the unique composer he is. And as a logical follow up, his music was drenched with his voice against oppression and ethnicity. Be it in Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, the U.S.A. he always expressed his displeasure in his music and well he did it. No matter where he performed, he was loved for his music in all places that he travelled through. He filled prestigious posts as conductor, was sought for his compositions, yet after his death, his music died too. People have short lived memories.

Mandragola is a very good introduction to his work, and shows his brilliancy in scoring and melody.

The New World Suite is a very special piece. It was written in the States to which he fled when the Nazi’s gained power. He was drawn to the growing movement against racial discrimination in the States towards African American artists. Its a long story and worthwhile to know, but too much for me to write down. He wrote an autobiography “Out of the Ghetto into Freedom” which I will try to get.

This composition contains all musical influences he met on his road to the States, and he picked up readily enough what was the predominant musical trend in the U.S.A. And that results in a fascinating piece.

Masaryk’s Peace March is no ordinary March, but a cleverly put together of themes in a devilish fine work. It was written for the official celebration of the 85 year old President of Czechoslovakia, upon his retirement in 1935. One of the best Marches I ever heard.

It’s very forwardly recorded, all the detail and depth is there, but quite frontal. So you have to adjust the volume and then its fine.
The performance leaves nothing to be desired.

© 2015 Harry’s classical music corner
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