Anthony Newman is without question America's foremost Baroque interpreter. Described by Wynton Marsalis as "The High Priest of Bach", and by Time Magazine as "The High Priest of the Harpsichord", Newman has maintained a 40 year career as America's leading organist, harpsichordist and Bach specialist. His prodigious recording output includes more than 170 CDs on such labels as CBS, SONY, Deutsche Grammaphon, and Vox Masterworks. In 1989 Stereo Review voted his original instrument recording of Beethoven's 3rd Piano Concerto as "Record of the Year". His collaboration with Wynton Marsalis on Sony's "In Gabriel's Garden" was the best-selling classical CD for 1997.
As a keyboard artist he has performed more than 60 times at Lincoln Center in NYC, and has collaborated with many of the 'greats' of music including Kathleen Battle, Itzhak Perlman, Eugenia Zukerman, John Nelson, Jean-Pierre Rampal, James Levine, Lorin Maazel, Mstislav Rostropovich, Sieji Ozawa and Leonard Bernstein.
As a conductor he has worked with the greats of chamber music orchestras including
St Paul Chamber, LA Chamber, Budapest Chamber, Scottish Chamber, and 92nd St. Y Chamber Orchestras. Larger symphonic groups include Seattle (over 40 appearances), Los Angeles, San Diego, Calgary, Denver, and NY Philharmonic Orchestras.
No less prodigious a composer, his works have been heard in Paris, Vienna, Budapest, Krakow, Warsaw, New York and London. His output includes
4 symphonies, 4 concerti, 3 large choral works, 2 operas: Nicole and Massacre (in collaboration with Charles Flowers), 3 cds of piano music, and a large assortment of chamber, organ and guitar works. Complete works are published by Ellis Press (TD Newman has received 30 consecutive composer's awards from ASCAP.
Antony Newman is the music director of "Bach Works," New York's all Bach association, and Bedford Chamber Concerts. He is also on the Visiting Committee for the Department of Musical Instruments at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and on the board of the “Musical Quarterly Magazine".
As a person committed to outreach he was a volunteer for Stamford Hospital, a member of Hospice International from 1995 to 2004, and music director of St. Matthews Episcopal Church in Bedford NY.
In 2015 Mr. Newman will return to the Disney Concert Hall as part of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Organ Series. Anthony Newman is a Yamaha Artist.


Anthony Newman’s immense physical talent for playing keyboard instruments is certainly basic to his prolific ventures in the music business. On Sunday afternoon at Holy Trinity Church, Mr. Newman roared through six Mendelssohn organ sonatas and three Preludes and Fugues as if the effort were barely worth mentioning. It is perhaps this easy fluency and high energy level that allows him to pursue so many things – piano, fortepiano and harpsichord performances, conducting, composing and editing...The sheer kinetic force of the playing had its visceral charm, and Sunday’s large audience reacted enthusiastically to the frequent bursts of power......Mr. Newman is simply an organist for our time – hard-hitting, action- packed, hugely skilled...these are star qualities... a star he most certainly is.
-The New York Times, 1990
The bird collection, which opened the program, included Messiaen’s richly inventive “Chants Oiseaux,” sandwiched between two Baroque works, Rameau’s “Poule” and Daquin’s “Coucou.” These scores are not just bird-song mimicry, of course: Rameau, Daquin and Messiaen wove their birdcalls into their more abstract musical discourses, offering moments of evocative imitation here and there. Mr. Newman balanced these works’ sinews and pictorial frills sensibly, and drew fully on the coloristic resources of the church’s Aeolian-Skinner organ.
His inventiveness with color was evident elsewhere, too, most notably in his alternation of flute and reed timbres in Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in E (BWV 548) and an unusually brisk account of the Bach Passacaglia and Fugue in C (BWV 582), which closed the concert.
-The New York Times
That may be taking purity beyond the limits of practicality, but Mr. Newman’s performances were certainly vivid. They were also played more briskly than one often hears them; bur Mr. Newman supported his tempos by citing the writings of Charles Tournemire, one of Franck’s students. More crucially, he approached Franck’s registrational contrasts with virtuosic fluidity, drawing easily on a wide, contrasting timbral palette. Even such comparatively modest works as the Fantasies in A major and C major, the “Prière” and the Cantabile in B minor became wonderfully textured and sometimes dramatic essays.
The combination of the organ’s attractively transparent coloration and Mr. Newman’s vibrant approach made for an especially lovely rendering of the popular Prélude, Fugue et Variation. And the splashier, more openly picturesque works – the “Pièce Héroïque” and the “Grand Pièce Symphonique,” for instance – benefited from unflaggingly robust performances and an almost cinematic variety breadth.
-The New York Times

Anthony Newman-Reviews Cont.
The first part of the recital Newman ended with his own delicate composition in a style of the French organ music of the XX century: Adagio and Toccata from the II Symphony. In the second part of the recital, he brilliantly played Grande Piece Symphonique op. 17 by Cezar Franck; in the end, he returned to Bach. I must admit that I have never heard such a monumental and ravishing performance of Passacaglia and Fugue c-minor BWV 582 played live.
-Music in Old Krakow, Gazeta Krakowkoska
These four music cassettes, which have just come out from Newport Classic, can only be described as “incredible"....these organ recordings so thoroughly overturn the way we are used to hearing Bach’s organ music played, and not in an eccentric sense that they should not be taken seriously, but rather they are quite serious ...the organist Anthony Newman...possesses unbelievable technical skills, and not only in the sense that he can play incredibly fast. What now makes this recording so interesting is that it is so passionately gripping, it is so musical and played in such a way that it does even not bother with traditions as we know them....rather it seems to go its own new way...they are always sparkling, inspiring, musical and never boring ...the recording is so inspiring, so exciting, that you will want to listen to it for hours on end. This recording has doubtlessly upped the bidding as to where the limits of performance are.
-Plattenumschau, Record Review
Ears more attuned than mine to the fine specifics of organ building will have to judge just how well Rieger has met the challenge, but Mr. Newman’s demonstration of the instrument’s versatility was stunningly convincing. He exploited its responsiveness of touch to the utmost. He has the virtuoso command of fingerwork to achieve brilliant distinctness at high speed (runs played too smoothly will blur together). His flair for theatrical, propulsive rhythms is exciting; his ornamentation is unusually fluent and unmannered. His pedalwork in the F major toccata, S. 540, was spectacular: If one insisted on counting along, it was evident that he played a bit slower than when the corresponding fast passages came around on the manuals, but the impression was of unbroken velocity, headlong yet fully under control.
-The New York Times

Anthony Newman-Reviews Cont.
Newport Classics series of recordings of Bach organ works is in several ways a revelation. First, there’s this organist, Anthony Newman, who rolls even Bach’s most difficult works off his fingers (and beneath his feet) as if he were born to it. There’s something indescribably comforting and reassuring about listening to a performer who you know is in total control. Newman never presumes to conquer Bach – only to interpret him in the most tasteful but imaginative way possible. Newman convinces you with technical perfection and with some of the most inspired registration you’re every likely to hear.
-Digital Audio & Compact Disc Review
The way to get more people to the Allied arts organ series is to have more performances of the type Anthony Newman brought to Orchestra Hall Friday...serious, dedicated playing is no match for the excitement Newman generates.He revealed two very great advantages over the majority of his predecessors. First, he made superior use of the resources of the instrument. Newman obviously is a master of registration; he blends organ sounds with acute skill...he projects his energy and insight. His strong commitment to the music shows in his playing and sweeps you along. Everything he does seems to capture the imagination. Here were two of the greatest works revealed in their fullest glory ...Newman the composer was heard in two ingenious and attractive improvisations and his variations on the ‘The Battle hymn of the Republic’.
-Chicago Sun-Times
The first half of the concert was devoted to French organ works of the late 19th century, the second to J.S. Bach. French composers, including those heard Tuesday, Charles-Marie Widor, Cesar Franck and Louis Vierne, exploited the massive symphonic sound available on organs of their time and Newman was not shy about letting loose his instrument’s power. But sonic effects were carefully controlled, though the changes in volume in the opening work, the allegro movement of Widor’s organ Symphony No. 6 seemed abrupt. The scherzo movement of Vierne’s Organ Symphony No. 2 had a jaunty ragtime feel to it, the organ at times sounding like a hurdy-gurdy.
-Chicago Sun Times

Anthony Newman-Reviews Cont.
Anthony Newman is an authentic virtuoso, and the key word there is authentic. His performances combine a deep and wide-ranging scholarship, compelling musicianship, fluent technical skill and an “X” factor of presence that takes audiences on a trip back in time. Newman’s brief discourses were illuminating and entertaining, and flowed like his music from a lifetime of knowledge. And Newman plays them both with breathtaking pace and skill, doing all the mechanical business of organ playing with the aplomb of an Olympic athlete – pulling knobs, shoving keyboards, kicking pedals, wrestling with the gigantic Ahrend Baroque tracker organ in Beall Hall as if to throw the beast to the ground.
-The Register-Guard
It was a midnight mass of the brightest colors, a celebration of music itself. Anthony Newman played Bach on the Kennedy Center’s much neglected Concert Hall organ as Saturday turned to Sunday, and well over 1,000 people stayed up and cheered. It was a celebration of the organ, an instrument that not even the human voice can surpass in its power to envelop all the senses. Organ and organist both were models of commanding clarity and authoritative splendor. Newman was particularly majestic in the double-pedaled chorale and prelude of “An Wasserfluessen Babylon,” as well as in the famous Prelude and Fugue in D Major. And the serenity that settled on ‘Schmuecke dich, o liebe Seele’ never left him throughout the morning.
-The Washington Post
For those of us who discovered Bach in the 1970s, Anthony Newman was the man of the hour. His LPs of Book One of The Well Tempered Clavier came out in 1973, when I was 12, and immediately became part of my regular weekend listening (Menahem Pressler’s brother Leo, on seeing my record collection in these years, said to my father, “Alfred, this is serious. The Art of Fugue!”). Soon I was able to convince my mother to take a subscription for us to two years of Anthony Newman and Friends at Alice Tully Hall, one of the most charming concert series I ever have had the privilege of attending. My high school music teacher, Nicholas Tino, was an organist and harpsichordist with a special interest in Bach, so we spoke about Newman frequently. We both felt Newman was one of the few artists whose keyboard technique rivaled Horowitz’s. Nick thought Newman’s rapid tempos were appropriate for the harpsichord but not for the organ. I’ve had 40 years to think this over, and I side with Newman. He believes that true Baroque organ playing style disappeared around 1760, and that the way we generally hear Bach on the organ is a fantasy of the 19th century. Given Bach’s reputation as Germany’s supreme keyboard virtuoso, it requires an artist of Newman’s ability to recreate what the composer may have been capable of as a performer. What we have on the present CDs is a rare document of an artist entering the mind and spirit of a composer with results that are truly unsurpassed.
Newman’s organ box is played on a number of different organs, all of which are relatively small yet powerful. For many listeners, the core of the set will be the three CDs devoted to the Preludes and Fugues. All of the works are enjoyable, and the best are memorable—with superb imagination on Newman’s part. The Prelude and Fugue in E Minor, BWV 548, has a rustic quality. A sublime drama inhabits the Prelude and Fugue in D Major. The Prelude and Fugue in G Major, BWV 550, is like a walk beside a majestic lake. In the Prelude and Fugue in G Minor there resides the dark-hued dignity of a Rembrandt self-portrait. The prelude of the Prelude and Fugue in C Major, BWV 547, sounds like a peasant dance. Next comes Jesus, meine Zuversicht, sounding like a tune by The Moody Blues. Newman’s version of the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565, possesses a raw energy which makes it as transcendent a musical document as The Rite of Spring. The prelude of the Prelude and Fugue in F Minor is like a stroll on a Sunday afternoon. In the Prelude and Fugue in C Major, BWV 545, we hear two philosophers conversing.
Other highlights of the first three CDs include a Fantasy and Fugue in G Minor with the imagery and grandeur of a medieval tapestry. The Prelude and Fugue in A Minor, in the second recording of it Newman has included, exhibits the majesty and opulence of Baroque architecture. A breeze on an autumn day is wafted by the Prelude and Fugue in D Minor. The Prelude and Fugue in E Minor offers the exotic, brooding colors of a Gothic novel. The Toccata and Fugue in F Major reveals a grand, dignified procession. Newman’s penchant for quick tempos does not preclude him from being a sensitive interpreter of Bach’s chorales. Of the 18 Varied Chorales (Leipzig Chorales), my favorites start with Adorn Yourself, Dear Soul, which flows like a gently moving stream. Newman offers miraculously light, feathery playing in Lord Jesus Christ, Turn

Anthony Newman-Reviews Cont.
to Us. Come Now, Savior of the Heathen, BWV 659, exhibits profound religious feeling, while the same tune in BWV 661 has shattering intensity in Newman’s hands. Come, God Creator, Holy Ghost presents a foretaste of the resurrection.
A healthy, extroverted sensibility permeates the fifth Schübler Chorale, Ach bleib bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ. Karl Richter thought that the Orgelbüchlein was at the center of Bach’s creative output, and Newman imbues this microcosm of the composer’s world with tremendous understanding. In dir ist Freude reminds me of Virgil Fox’s comment about playing a “he-man” Bach. O Mensch, bewein dein Sünde Gross portrays a simple, humble piety. Christ ist erstanden possesses the dark, rich palette of a Pre- Raphaelite painting. Ich ruf’ zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ is like a view from a window on a winter’s day. I also enjoy Peter Hurford’s quite different version of the Orgelbüchlein. Newman offers an exceptionally lucid performance of the Canonic Variations on “Vom Himmel Hoch.” From the Catechism Chorales, Aus tiefer Not schrei ich zu dir, BWV 686, is like storm clouds building. An impish spirit informs Jesus Christus, unser Heiland, BWV 688. The second Duetto can be compared to a game of chess, with each player taking his turn.
Newman gives the “Gigue” Fugue a roguish air. Sheep May Safely Graze is so lacking in solemnity that you can dance to it. In the Concerto in D Minor after Vivaldi, one is struck by how natural this sounds as organ music, through Newman’s phrasing and registrations. The play of shifting textures in the Fantasie in G Major is quite remarkable. The second of the three versions here of the Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor is on pedal harpsichord, which permits Newman to realize its figurations with uncommon sensitivity and elegance. He plays the outer movements of the trio sonatas on the organ, but the central movements on pedal harpsichord. This makes the second movement of No. 3 truly Dolce, even employing a lute stop. For a more conventional performance of these sonatas solely on organ, I would recommend John Butt’s CD. The final CD in Newman’s set is devoted to his 1968 debut on Columbia Records, dubbed from a slightly noisy LP. Its highlight for me is the Prelude and Fugue in B Minor on pedal harpsichord, with the stark lines of an etching instead of an organ’s watercolors. The sound engineering throughout this collection varies from fair to very good. If you are looking for audiophile sound in a complete box of the Bach organ works, I am quite happy with Wolfgang Rübsam’s set on Philips.
I always have considered The Well Tempered Clavier to be at the center of Newman’s repertoire. One of my most cherished memories of Anthony Newman and Friends is the intermissions, when Newman would take off his jacket, sit at the harpsichord, and play parts of it for whoever would care to stay and listen. Toscanini said that fugue is an artificial form, but Bach was a passionate man. I’m not sure that we would view fugue this way today, but Newman certainly finds the passion in these works. I enjoy Vladimir Ashkenazy’s clear and sensible version of The Well Tempered Clavier. Newman’s renditions are just as lucid and quick in tempo, but where Ashkenazy is Apollonian, Newman is on fire. His renditions are as informed by period performance

Anthony Newman-Reviews Cont.
practice as one could wish and are totally attentive to structure, but there is an added ecstatic dimension I have heard from no other harpsichordist. Indeed, in spirit Newman’s account has less in common with Ashkenazy’s than with João Carlos Martin’s wild and woolly recordings of Book One on Tomato and Book Two on Concord Concerto. When Newman first recorded The Well Tempered Clavier in the 1970s, he used three different harpsichords for Book One, and harpsichord, clavichord, and positif organ for Book Two. Prelude No. 8 of Book Two on organ in the present collection appears to have been dubbed from that old LP, but the rest of the set is on harpsichord. This is playing of depth and imagination.
Newman’s Six Partitas are the fastest version I’ve ever heard. I enjoy Maria Tipo’s recording, which is exquisite and refined, where Newman is trenchant and earthy. His is blood-and-guts Bach, the man who kept his wives pregnant and fought with his employers. Newman’s First Partita is every bit as soulful as Dubravka Tomsic’s, but with a reminder that a sarabande is meant to be danced. In the repeat of its first Menuet, Newman’s use of the lute stop for variety is particularly apt. The Ouverture of the Fourth Partita has French grandeur, and the subsequent Allemande offers melismatic beauty. The Sarabande here is a great moment, encapsulating the Baroque attitude of personal self-possession. I wish Decca would reissue Thurston Dart’s LP of the French Suites on clavichord. Newman’s performance on harpsichord shares clarity and sensitivity with Dart’s. The First Suite in Newman’s hands has a gentle, ruminative quality. No. 2 constitutes a philosophy of life in musical form. No. 3 is filled with brilliance, while the Sarabande of No. 4 is exquisite. In comparison with the Partitas, the French Suites show how Newman is able to create differences in attitude without ever compromising the rigor of historic performance practice.
The Goldberg Variations receives a great performance. It has tenderness, brilliance, and humor. Newman’s virtuosity is stunning, and while it certainly is striking, it never draws attention to itself for its own sake. Newman finds in Bach’s variation form a way of encapsulating all experience, all aspects of the world. At Newman’s quick tempos and with his fluid phrasing, the illusion of legato on the harpsichord is created, while he releases great washes of sound worthy of Debussy. Bach’s personality is so vibrant in Newman’s interpretation that the composer almost appears high. My favorite rendition of the Goldbergs on piano is András Schiff’s first recording for Decca, a reading of great plastic qualities and warmth. Where Schiff is like lyric poetry, Newman is like dramatic poetry. Newman reveals himself to be a great actor, infusing each variation with a rich, unique personality. The only recording I know that realizes all the technical aspects of the work to the same degree is the 1942 Claudio Arrau account. The lute stop in the third variation almost is like having a continuo instrument accompany the harpsichord. No. 16 nearly prefigures Liszt, while No. 28 is cosmic in its suggestion of whole universes. This recording ranks as one of the peaks of Newman’s accomplishment as a Bach performer.

Anthony Newman-Reviews Cont.
I prefer Angela Hewitt to Newman in the Toccatas. She makes a strong case for the modern piano’s euphoniousness and for more spacious tempos, besides benefitting from better sound engineering. Not that Newman’s account is without merit. The opening of his D-Major Toccata has a breathless vigor. In the C-Minor he establishes a rhythm that really rocks. The G-Minor possesses the style and poise of the English virginalists. But in the D-Minor Toccata, Newman’s tempo really is too fast for the majesty of Bach’s rhetoric. I have no reservations about Newman’s English Suites. They are a magnificent accomplishment. Robert Levin, in the notes to his excellent recording, writes that these works make technical demands on the player similar to Liszt and Rachmaninoff. It is a measure of Newman’s astounding virtuosity that his version requires less than two-thirds the time of Colin Tilney’s, also on harpsichord. The Allemande of No. 1 has a wistful quality, while its Sarabande evokes a highly ornamented, gold-trimmed Baroque room. The Prelude of No. 2 sounds very contemporary, as if depicting a cityscape. Newman finds a dark, dangerous feeling in its Sarabande, almost like a tango. The Sarabande in No. 3 sounds like an entire orchestra. In No. 6, the Prelude is mighty in scope, while the gavottes possess the air of music for the theater. In sum, Newman proves that the English Suites can be played quickly, but without any loss of subtlety.
The shorter works are generally engaging, The Inventions and Sinfonias receive a performance that is clear and frequently exciting. In the Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue and the Italian Concerto, Newman’s virtuosity is compelling. The Partita in B Minor exudes French pomp. The First Harpsichord Concerto gets a solid performance in good monaural sound with an uncredited orchestra. Perhaps as a jeu d’esprit, Newman has included what appears to be his old Columbia recording of John Bull’s Walsingham Variations, a rousing accomplishment marred only by a brief silence in the master. The sound engineering throughout the set ranges from fair to good, with a noticeable number of the tracks dubbed from less than ideal LPs. As Jerry Dubins has pointed out to me, both the harpsichord and organ boxes are advertised as the complete “Collected Works,” meaning that they are complete only with respect to the works Bach placed into collections. Listeners hoping for absolutely complete versions of Bach’s organ and harpsichord music will find gaps. That said, I can think of no performer whose reflections on Bach are more essential than Anthony Newman’s, and I include Karl Richter and Glenn Gould in that statement. I was fortunate enough to hear Richter in concert four times, but Newman’s concerts have been just as enlightening. Don’t be dissuaded by my reservations about the presentation of these two boxes. Newman is a great artist, and for him, Bach is the heart of the matter. -Dave Saemann
This article originally appeared in Issue 37:6 (July/Aug 2014) of Fanfare Magazine.

Taken from the interview above: “The reason you’ve never heard of me as a composer is that I was pegged from the start as a performer of Bach and Baroque music. That’s what people associate with me, not new music.” He says also about his time at Harvard with Berio, “I did write a lot of music in that style, but I threw it most of it away.” Newman’s music is clearly the result of a composer with a terrific sense of style, of what makes music internally logical, consistent, and finely constructed whatever musical vernacular one uses. Take the Second String Quartet (CD 9). The second movement “Chaconne with Variations” is fabulous in its scope, and the whole quartet is very well recorded. In the interview, Newman talks about the quality of “joyousness” in his music, and how he picked that up from Stravinsky: One can certainly hear that in the finale of this quartet.

Anthony Newman-Reviews Cont.
The piano quintet is somewhat more rugged (the recording is a little distanced, unfortunately) and the second (and central) movement traverses a great deal of territory (the three sections of that movement are Largo, Furioso, Largo). There seem to be hints of Rachmaninoff in some of the melodic turns (and in their harmonic underpinning), but there is a distinctly post-Rachmaninoff edge to the furioso section before magical piano scales encrust the final Lento section. It is the finale that really impresses, though: entitled “Variations on a Easter Tune,” so timely as I review this with less than a week to go to Good Friday, it holds passages of real beauty alongside passages which exemplify Newman’s trademark flirting with the boundaries of tonality. Possibly the most impressive achievement is the Requiem (CD 2, performed by the Bach Works Chorus and Orchestra). Here Newman succeeds in the remarkable feat of juxtaposing moments of unbearable tenderness with times of real, raw power. The slow, cumulative tread of the opening “Requiem Aeternam,” with its tolling bell of sadness, gives way to a buoyant, active Kyrie, clearly indebted to Newman’s beloved Bach. Perhaps the performance is not the neatest one could imagine, but there is so much to enjoy—Newman’s deft way with woodwind writing, for example, surely there indebted to Stravinsky again. The Dies irae of course poses a huge challenge to any composer, and Newman’s reaction is at first predictable in its largesse. But the ensuing rhythmic shiftings and the sense of underlying disquiet is both unpredictable and fascinating and certainly had this reviewer smiling at the ingenuity of it all. There is also a magnificent virtuosic organ toccata between the “Domine Jesu Christe” and the Sanctus that I assume is played by Newman himself (he is also conducting the performance).
There is even an opera here: Nicole and the Trial of the Century (1999, mentioned in the interview above). Newman’s trademark skill in scoring is everywhere in evidence. Once again, he has a particularly deft and delicious way with wind writing: try the overture, which seems to bristle with a sense of the theater. The Trial Scene is, apparently, taken from actual transcripts of the trial itself. Again, Stravinsky is in evidence: There is an underlying debt to Oedipus Rex here. I take it the 18 tracks on offer here are from the Albany recording. This is a shortened version, with the Trial Scene curtailed. The scoring used is light and minimal. The work apparently awaits a first staging, and one hopes an enterprising opera company (not necessarily in the States, as this would surely find an appreciative audience in the UK) finally finds the cojones to put it on. A scheduled New York performance failed to materialize.
Another aspect of Newman’s music is its tender lyricism: listen, for example, to the slow central movement of the Violin Concerto in D (part of CD 12, Complete Works for Violin). The sheer variety of Newman’s output is highly impressive, partly because his aural imagination seems to know no bounds. The buzzing vibrancy of the opening Prelude in C of the 12 Preludes and Fugues in Ascending Key (CD 13) seems to sum up not only the internal energy of much of Newman’s music but also of this piece itself; after the prelude, the fugue launches itself off in unstoppable fashion in a sterling performance by the composer himself. At the heart of the work is an Adagio

Anthony Newman-Reviews Cont.
lachrymae, the prelude to the F♯ Fugue. Somehow it crystallizes Newman’s debt to Bach, while harmonically it speaks of Newman’s own sorrows. It is beautifully, sensitively played here. The fugue that follows is arguably the most inspired fugue of this set, its subject fluid and treated with great flexibility, but always within the confines of the fugue method.
The symphonic music provides much joy. The American Classic Symphony No. 1 (Bach Works Classical Players/Newman) opens with a happy, bright, rhythmic toccata, although the sound seems to zoom in and out somewhat. The neoclassical Tango is Newman at his most unbuttoned. Unfortunately the end of the performance is not the tightest. The American Classic Symphony No. 2 seems a slightly more complex piece.
There are three whole discs devoted exclusively to the organ (CDs 16–18, all played, of course, by Newman himself). There is a sense of homecoming here, of Newman absolutely reveling in the extravagance of his own music for his own instrument, and the evident joy it gives him to play it. The playing is stunning, particularly the clarity of the fingerwork. The third disc of organ works (CD18) is in many ways the most rewarding: three fully fledged organ symphonies followed by the Fantasia on Stravinsky’s “Oedipus Rex.” Each of the symphonies lasts in excess of half an hour and each reveals a composer capable of much depth (try the Largo mesto of the first). The Second Organ Symphony includes a transcription of the Adagio from the Viola Concerto (CD 10) as its fourth movement, while Largo of the Third Organ Symphony is entitled “Mother Teresa” and is presented in two versions, one for organ and one for piano, the one right after the other (the rather festive toccata finale returns to the organ). The nine-minute Fantasia on Stravinsky’s “Oedipus Rex” is astonishing. The invocation of the power of the orchestra at the opening is truly astounding; the use of stops to create changes of orchestration is truly skilled. For lovers of the Stravinsky, this will surely appear as a labor of love.
The two sets are crowned by the Angel Oratorio, a work of radiant beauty. Who, after all, doesn’t like angels? There is drama as well as beauty here, and some virtuoso singing, not least from the unnamed soprano soloist in the penultimate movement, “Blow your trumpets, Angels.”
I wouldn’t recommend listening to the 40 Great Hymns straight through unless you’re really devout (CD5: I did, and I’m not) but they contain much to celebrate if taken in small chunks.
The Amazon listing (at least at the time of writing) cites Billy Joel and Lukas Foss praising Anthony Newman’s music. That it can appeal equally to both is telling. Although references to other composers have been sprinkled through this review, Newman remains his own man, fierce in his belief in what music is and what it means

Anthony Newman-Reviews Cont.
to him. His staunch avoidance of atonality, yet his ability to skirt around it, seems perfectly natural as he is so assured in what he wants, and has such a keen ear and sterling compositional technique that he knows exactly how to get it, too.
A word of warning: The discs (at least in my sets) are tightly attached and my copy of the Requiem (CD 2) split pretty much into two on about its third outing and was unplayable thereafter. Luckily I had heard the piece through (and it is also available on Spotify) but do be aware of this hazard. Documentation is a little inconsistent, as some disc labels include performer information while others do not, while gleaning performers from the booklet is a more a challenge for some works than for others. Nevertheless, this assignment has been a source of great joy for this reviewer. This is bracingly invigorating music that deserves investigation.
-Colin Clarke
This article originally appeared in Issue 37:6 (July/Aug 2014) of Fanfare Magazine.

Anthony Newman-Reviews Cont.
FEATURE REVIEW by David DeBoor Canfield
A. NEWMAN Complete Original Works, including: American Classic Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2.1 Violin Concerto.2 Requiem.3 Piano Quintet.4 Nicole and the Trial of the Century.5 12 Preludes and Fugues in Ascending Key.6 Organ Symphonies Nos. 1–3.7 Fantasia on Stravinsky’s “Oedipus Rex”.7 Angel Oratorio8 • Various artists; Orso Str Qt; 4Wiersma Str Qt; 2Yoon Kwon (vn); Anthony Newman 4(pn); Anthony Newman 7(org); Anthony Newman, 1, 3, 5cond; 8Mary Jane Newman, cond; 3, 8Ars Antiqua Ch; 1, 3, 8Bach Works O; 2Bedford CO; 5Susan Lewis,
5Malinda Haslett (sop) • 903 RECORDS 1948 & 2004 (20 CDs: 1, 431:26)
Anthony Newman: Complete Original Works on 20 CDs
903 Records
While Anthony Newman the performer and recording artist has certainly overshadowed Anthony Newman the composer, the latter has been far from idle in his creative activity. In fact, here is a 20-CD set of almost his complete works (his two operas and certain other large-scale works are not included.) But there is certainly enough here to gain a good appreciation of Newman’s compositional craft, which is considerable. Newman initially began composing in the 1960s, but when he found that his aesthetic (expressed in the accompanying booklet as “I believe that new music must have some kind of memorable melody and some kind of harmonic background to be truly worthy”) was so far outside of the mainstream of the thought of composition teachers in the 1950s and 1960s, he became discouraged and largely stopped composing for some years. Only in the 1980s, by which time composers had

Anthony Newman-Reviews Cont.
rethought their former eschewing of the traditional parameters of music composition, did Newman actively re-engage in composition.
I got to meet him in the early 1980s, when he was a professor of harpsichord and I was a graduate student here at Indiana University, and found out that he had an interest in what the composition majors were up to. He graciously accepted an invitation to come to my house so that I could play him a recording of my just- premiered piano concerto. Soon after that, he left IU, and I, as a serious record collector, began to become acquainted with his music, of which a certain number of works were recorded on LP. I always found Newman’s music well-constructed, intelligently conceived and accessible to the listener, an opinion that is only reinforced by the present collection, which incorporates works in virtually all genres.
Space herein does not permit a detailed analysis of each work included in this set (depending on how you count them, there are more than 100), but I shall attempt a brief overview. Newman’s style is largely driven by neoclassical elements, with occasional lapses into neo-Baroque and neo-Romantic idioms. All of his music is quite tonal, and is written with considerable fluency in his chosen means of expression. Most of the music is upbeat, with lively figurations, joyous melodic utterances, and driving rhythmic figurations. The closest brief description that I can come up with is that Newman is the American Bohuslav Martinů. Of course, the Czech master was one of the most prolific composers of the 20th century, and Newman does not, even with 20 compact discs, come to that level. This is probably all for the better, since Martinů’s output is uneven, ranging from potboilers to masterpieces. Newman is more consistent, and I believe that a number of his works may reside in the masterwork arena, and only a very few works (a couple of the Preludes for solo piano) seem to me to be infected with the strain of note-spinning. Almost everything else is composed at a high level of inspiration.
Some of my favorite works were his concerted and chamber works for flute and violin. All of these have a special joie de vivre that is simply infectious, and would be a good cure for anyone who is feeling down in the dumps. Much of his music, in fact, fits this description, being permeated with such devices as coups d’archet and whatever the wind equivalent would be. (Perhaps coups de souffle? You’ll have to pardon my French, because it’s next to non-existent.) Martinů is not the only influence in this music, however. The Concerto for Organ and Orchestra owes something to Poulenc, the first two symphonies are cousins to Prokofiev’s “Classical” Symphony, and the Requiem is influenced by Baroque rhythms, textures, and harmonies. Its Sanctus movement reminds me quite a bit of the overture to Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.
One real oddity is Nicole and the Trial of the Century, the libretto of which deals with the O. J. Simpson trial. There is no libretto included in the set, but the piece seems very lightweight for the gravity of the subject matter. The overture is reminiscent of Menotti’s overture to Amelia al ballo, while most of the remainder of the piece reminded me (in part because of the chamber forces employed) of Martinů’s La revue

Anthony Newman-Reviews Cont.
de cuisine, the light and airy textures being interrupted only by a very somber setting of the Lord’s Prayer. The singers in the work are also an exception to the generally excellent performers for most of the remainder of the works. Newman himself performs most of the keyboard music, whether for organ, piano, or harpsichord, and obviously plays his own music brilliantly and definitively. One has to hunt rather carefully for the names of the performers in this set: They are nowhere mentioned in conjunction with the listing of the contents, but most may be found nestled within the (regrettably brief) program notes.
The layout of the music is intelligently done, with separate discs devoted to all the violin music, the cello music, the piano music, and so forth. There is really only one outright dud in the entire set, and that is a computer realization of Newman’s First String Quartet. For one thing, the piece is played back with a piano rather than a string sound, and the piano sound is one of the poorer computer realizations of a piano sound I’ve heard (certainly far inferior to the ones I get from my music writing program). The set didn’t gain anything at all by including this, even though I imagine the music in this quartet would hold its own with the other works in the CD if it were rendered by human performers.
I like the idea behind the set, i.e., to present a composer’s comprehensive oeuvre in one convenient package (actually the 20 CDs are contained in two boxes), and having now heard this survey, my admiration for Newman’s compositional craft has grown a good bit from what it had been from the handful of his works that I’d previously encountered in the LP era. I hope he’ll sell enough sets to be able to publish an addendum containing the First Quartet with a real string quartet, and the few missing works from his output not included herein. Definitely recommended.
-David DeBoor Canfield
This article originally appeared in Issue 37:6 (July/Aug 2014) of Fanfare Magazine.