“Antheil, George is doing well on disc and he is lucky here to have a conductor of the calibre of Wolff, Hugh taking up his cause and reviving a Frankfurt connection going back to the premiere of Transatlantic, the opera acclaimed there in 1930 but not seen in his native US for another 50 years.
Antheil was hesitant about his Third Symphony, written during the 1930s when he was returning from a decade spent mostly in Europe and exploring his own country. He broke off to write film scores and fulfil other commitments so it was picked up and put down, then revised in 1945. In its first recording, the Third is more successful than commentators have suggested, but as attractive tableaux rather than a symphonic entity. Antheil wanted to write American music and the breezy syncopations of the third movement show common ground with Copland, who in 1926 regarded Antheil as having `the greatest gift of any young American now writing`.
If the Third Symphony is transitional, Antheil was very much in his stride during the 1940s.
The short overture Tom Sawyer is an endearing evocation of Mark Twain`s hero, and Hot-TimeDance, premiered at the Boston Pops in 1949, is characteristically swaggering and irrepressible – Antheil`s orchestration can stand up with the most blatant Shostakovich; either would be a smash-hit encore. Capital of the World, a ballet based on Hemingway`s short story, was premiered on television then staged at the Met in 1953. This is the suite, a suave and polished example of Antheil`s late style. Wolff once again makes the most of everything.” GRAMOPHONE CLASSICAL MUSIC GUIDE 2010