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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Kenton Wagner - Stan Kenton

Ride Of The Valkyries From "Die Walkuere"
Kenton Wagner
From The Creative World Of Stan Kenton Comes Innovations On Great Wagnerian Themes
Capitol Records STAO 2217

From Billboard - February 27, 1965: A giant of this ear of music, Stan Kenton has brilliantly and sensitively arranged the great works of Wagner to fit the modern world of music and yet retain their classic quality. An undertaking few could accomplish with such impact and beauty. All the fire and drive of Wagner is complemented by Kenton. Prelude and Love Death from "Triston and Isolde" a classic example.

From the inside cover: In 1940 after more than eight years of study Kenton began composing and arranging for his own orchestra "Everytime I'd sit at the piano and begin writing," said Stan, "I'd think about all the things Ravel and I discussed that night. In fact, he was the stimulus for two of the things I later wrote for the Artistry In Rhythm Orchestra. I think if he had lived he would have enjoyed analyzing the structure of Artisty In Bolero and Fantasy."

Over the next ten years Stan and chief arranger Pete Rugolo became convinced that the only way to make their modern music survive as to experiment with the complex ideas of the classical school and to fuse them along new thematic and harmonic lines. "If I had stuck to the original music that Pete and I wrote for the Artist In Rhythm Orchestra," said Stan, "I'd probably be the richest man in music today. But Id also be the most bored!"

In addition to jazz and dance arrangements, Kenton and Rugolo added concert scores to the library which were inspired by the writings of Ravel, Debussy, Hindemith, Stravinsky and Schonberg. By 1949, Kenton's intense urge to communicate musically on as many levels as possible again caused him to re-evaluate his creative perspective.

Even though his music had been accepted as one of the post provocative art forms of the twentieth century, he still sought new methods for breaking down the harmonic barriers which had crippled contemporary music for so many years. If his music was to speak for of textures, tempos and contrasts characteristic of the age, then the range of the Orchestra would have to be expanded.

In January of 1950, Kenton assembled a forty-piece orchestra which included violins, cellos, woodwinds, brass and tympani, and commissioned a new library to be written. The Innovations In Modern Music Orchestra not only allowed him to present a classical approach to jazz, but proved a big band could remain in existence even though it had dramatically shifted musical direction. Critics thought out the world unanimously agreed that Kenton's neo-classic concert scores had intelligently begun to bridge the gap between jazz and classical music. And yet, although the thematic material Kenton wrote for the Innovation's Orchestra made a lasting contribution to modern music, he relentlessly followed his artistic conscience and kept accumulating knowledge in order to project new ideas. By 1964, the scope, subtlety, and brooding brilliance of his music emphasized the sharpness and accuracy of his reminiscences of the contemporary scene.

Last winter while preparing a lecture on the influences classical music had on his own written he began sketching out on the piano an arrangement of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, as it might sound if Wagner had scored it for the Kenton Orchestra. The more he analyzed Wagner's music the more convinced he became that the Kenton Orchestra should record the music of Germany's revolutionary 19th century composer.

Ride For The Valkyries From "Die Walkuere"
Siegfired's Funeral March From "Goetterdaemmerung"
Prelude To Act I Of "Lohengrin"
Prelude To Act III Of "Lohengrin"
Prelude To "Tristan und Isolde"
Wedding March From "Lohengrin"
Pilgrims' Chorus From "Tannhaeuser"

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