ROBERT WARD (b.1917): Symphony No. 1 (Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra; Alan Balter), Oboe Quintet (Joseph Robinson [oboe], Ciompi Quartet), Raleigh Divertimento for Nonet (Czech Nonet), Bath County Rhapsody for Piano and String Quartet (Jane Hawkins [piano]), Ciompi Qt.), Arioso and Tarantelle for Viola and Piano (Jonathan Bagg [viola], Hawkins [piano]).
Catalogue Number: 02K013
Reference: TROY 1063
Description: The second recent Ward release from Albany (see 07J008 for the other) again contains some previously existing recordings although no information is given about dates or provenance. One might be surprised to find a conservative Romantic American composer writing a 13-minute symphony in 1942 but here it is, in three separate movements, and as richly Romantic as you could like, with folk-music traces in its first movement. The 1955 Arioso and Tarantelle reflects Ward's admiration for "the powerful rhythmic stride" of Bach's and Handel's allegros while the other three works are much more recent: a 13-minute tone-poem from 1991 for piano quintet depicting several stages in the history of Bath County, VA, the 1997/2004 Divertimento and the 2005 oboe quintet (the longest work here at just over 19 minutes), all of which are approachable and full of often robust melodies.