Hovhaness: Symphony No. 1/ 50 (Exile/ Mount Saint Helens) (Ron Johnson/ Seattle Symphony/ Gerard Schwarz) (Naxos: 8.559717)
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One of the most intriguing and individual of 20th century American composers, Alan Hovhaness rejected the cosmopolitan modernism of other leading composers of the 1930s and '40s. The connection Hovhaness felt with his Armenian heritage is evident in his Exile Symphony
, which commemorates the flight forced upon those people by the Ottoman Turks after World War I. Delicacy, charm and vitality in the Fantasy on Japanese Woodprints evoke the composer's love for Japan, and the 1980 eruption of Mount Saint Helens inspired the Symphony No. 50, with its remarkable evocation of the violent power and hauntingly mystic beauty of nature in "startlingly realistic engineering" (Gramophone).
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