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“the sure hand of a true symphonist" ~ DAVID HURWITZ, Classics Today


Reviews: Performance and Composition (1911-1942; selected)

Various works by other composers

20 March 1911; Berlin, Germany

Edward Collins, piano

“He played... in such a spirit of natural romanticism and with such youthful exuberance that it was a joy to follow him... . If this genuinely musical talent continues to develop, it will fill the most sanguine expectations.”—Tageliche Rundschau

“… decidedly striking was his interpretation… he played with fire and manliness of style.” —Boersen Zeitung

“He impresses as a musician of feeling… ” —Lokal Anzeiger

“He goes about his work with a freshness and vigor that gives character to his performances, besides being at all times supported by his splendid technical equipment.” —Der Reichsanzeiger

“In the Schumann fantasie, in which I heard him, the young artist displayed unusual pianistic and musical qualities. His technical equipment is singularly complete and his plastic, yet forceful touch enables him to produce a wide variety of tonal color at the piano. He also has his musical feeling and intelligence, although the latter predominates. Collins has in him the making of a first rate artist.” —The Musical Courier (10 April 1912)

Various works by other composers (solo portions of recital tour program, with contralto Ernestine Schumann-Heink)

October-November 1912; various cities, USA (excerpted from reviews cited in The Musical Courier, 18 Dec. 1912)

Edward Collins, piano

“… the surprising talents and attainments of Edward Collins, the young American pianist. He is a virtuoso worthy to take rank with any of the younger generation of European pianists who visit us… . A beautifully shaded and modulated tone, refinement of interpretive means, and sterling musicianship were the qualities that infused interest into his technically brilliant performance of compositions by Chopin, Liszt, and Brahms.” —Chicago Daily Tribune

“… a clean and precise technic and intelligent musical interpretive traits.” —Chicago Examiner (Chicago, IL)

“… Madison people found a pianist of great ability… his tone and touch being thoroughly musical and his technic all that could be desired.” —Madison Democrat (Madison, WI)

“… Possessed with a deep-seated music intelligence and a technique that is impeccable . . . he aroused great enthusiasm with his closing number… ” —Toledo Blade (Toledo, OH)

“… He has a clear, crisp, facile technic and a sympathetic manner of interpretation which promises to win him much fame. He possesses the kind of ability that wins an audience... ” —Detroit Saturday Night (Detroit, MI)

“… the young and talented player was accorded a real ovation and compelled to respond to encores after persistently at- tempting to remain in the background.” —Milwaukee Sunday Sentinel (Milwaukee, WI)

“… achieved a personal triumph by his brilliant piano playing. He is a young man, but displayed such amazing virtuosity, such admirable touch, such true poetic insight into the Chopin selections, such an extensive, pliant technic that his performance not only pleased highly, but leads to any kind of extravagant prophecy of things to come. His unassuming ease only magnifies the height of his art.” —Milwaukee Free Press (Milwaukee, WI)

“… plays splendidly—his effects and shading show refined temperament and his technic is remarkable.” —Omaha Bee (Omaha, NE)

“… wonderful technical ability and finish, with beautiful passage work.” —Omaha World-Herald (Omaha, NE)

“… interesting young pianist… . His playing was remarkable for a clear and fluent technic and for beautiful shading… he received unstinted applause and made an agreeable impression by his musicianly qualities.” —Philadelphia Record (Philadelphia, PA)

“… much poetic charm.” —Philadelphia Evening Item (Philadelphia, PA)

“… pleased with his piano offerings. He is a young man of marked individuality, clear technic and good grasp of expression. To many he appealed as a discovery.” —Boston Daily Advertiser (Boston, MA)

Waltz (title unidentified)

Date unknown, 1913; Playhouse; Chicago, Illinois, USA

Edward Collins, piano

“… He is lavishly equipped with valuable qualities, of which one readily puts brains in the foreground. … there was an endless chain of lovely music, beautiful in content, illuminated by discriminating taste, warmed by passion in control, tempered by earnestness, sunned by brightness, clean and pulsing with power, alert with deftness, sensitive with color and shading, picturesque with originality and alive with wide-awake personality. Technical supremacy was a matter of course… a certain sense of sanity and balance was united with an authority that brooked no questions. Our old friend, the Bach-Tausig D Minor, came in for so much of wholesome beauty and purity of concept that it might stand as covering the best moments of the afternoon fraught with other moods of compelling excellence. Mr. Collins followed this with Beethoven playing of the finest water and then ran into four moods of Chopin that were of superb flavor, with stress upon the C Sharp Minor ‘Scherzo’—easily comparable with any standards. A modern group included a Nocturne, ‘Lyrique,’ by Felix Borowski, which lived up to its title by being musical every minute, and an exquisite Morceau of Victor Louis Saar called ‘Valse Tendre,’ limpid and charming in its easy flow. Two encores were heard, one of the ‘Juba Dance’ of Dett, and the other one of Mr. Collins’ own irresistible waltzes, running over with youthful vivacity and brilliant texture and played with abounding effervescence.” —The Music News (Chicago)

Four Waltzes, Op. 15 (and works by other composers)

October 1913; Illinois Theater; Chicago, Illinois, USA

Edward Collins, piano; Rudolph Ganz, piano

“… a pianist of most commendable attainments, which might be described as virility of style, intellectual grasp of the works at hand and formidable technical accomplishments. …a very interesting recital that included… four waltzes by Edward Collins, in which the pianist showed praiseworthy talent for composition.” —Musical America (23 Oct. 1913)

Various work by other composers

24 October 1913; Bush Temple; Chicago, Illinois, USA

Edward Collins, piano

“… has the pianistic gift, the instinct that leads his fingers surely over the keys, and he has developed his powers until he has unusual command of the keyboard even in these days of virtuosity. There is a certainty of purpose in all that he does, a fine rhythmic sense, and he plays anything like the Bach Bouree in B minor with a grasp of meaning and a solidity that is most satisfying… . Mr. Collins has a manly, straightforward way of approaching his music that is refreshing. … he has everything to do with fingers, musicianship, a clear mind, and the instinct for the piano… . There was a large audience, which applauded Mr. Collins very cordially.” —Chicago Post (25 Oct. 1913)

Waltz from Six Valses Caracteristiques, Op. 18 (and various works by other composers)

12 November 1919; Ziegfield Theatre; Chicago, Illinois, USA

Edward Collins, piano

“… the player gave cause for bestowal of approval. He has made himself the possessor of a complete technical equipment, and equipment which includes not only fleet, sure fingers and abundant power, but also the more precious and elusive qualities that are disclosed in the producing of a tone singing and beautiful and in the employing of the fine tonal and dynamic gradations and shadings which come only when muscles carefully trained are guided by brain and nerves sensitive to the poetic and emotional in music. He not only plays piano, but he plays it so that it becomes an instrument of beauty and charm. He can pile up rousing climaxes . . . his playing is distinguished by tonal loveliness, by fine lyricism, and by true poetry and sentiment.” —W.L. Hubbard, Chicago Tribune (13 Nov. 1919)

“Not long ago, Edward Collins, the Chicago pianist, returned from overseas service, but it did not take him much time to prepare an interesting and exhaustive program . . . [which included] a new waltz of his own. [Collins] projected his intelligent, forceful manner of interpretation, his sure and fleet mechanical equipment, his solid tone, and an entirely new acquisition to his artistic qualities, imagination. There is much more poetry and fancy and a degree of elegance in his playing, which before had always been admirable but more forthright and businesslike rather than sensitively musical.” —Maurice Rosenfeld, Chicago Daily News (13 Nov. 1919)

“Edward Collins unmistakably belongs to the virtuoso class. A pianist as good as he is should be heard more often.” —Henriette Weber, Chicago Examiner (13 Nov. 1919)

“Edward Collins, who functions as both pianist and composer, appeared in his dual capacity. He gave a piano recital which included among other numbers, a new Waltz of his own composition. As the publication number classified it as opus 18, it is apparent that not all his time is applied to practice at the keyboard. He is an authoritative pianist, with a good deal of the big manner about his playing. His opening number, the Busoni transcription of the Bach D Major prelude and fugue for organ . . . took on under his performance much of the majesty that the work had in its original version… .The fact that it did in this [transcription] was a distinct achievement to the credit of the pianist. … His fingers are of steel, his brain is alert and acute, and his interpretations are never light-minded.”—Edward C. Moore, Chicago Evening Journal (13 Nov. 1919)

“Edward Collins, pianist, has come back from his lieutenancy with the A.E.F. [American Expeditionary Forces] in France, as tonally and technically perfect as he was before leaving to do his patriotic duty. … in the pre-war time, he gave me great pleasure. Handling grenades and guns in the awful business of battle has not harmed the subtleness of his talented fingers. … Mr. Collins disclosed brilliant qualities, which entitle him to the place he seeks among the successful concert pianists of America.” —Herman Devries, Chicago Evening American (13 Nov.1919)

Tragic Overture

21 August 1926; New York College Great Hall; New York, New York, USA

Frederick Stock, conductor; New York Philharmonic Orchestra

“… introduced to the audience two novelties by American composers. The first, a tragic overture, “1914,” by Edward Collins of Chicago, won the first prize at the North Shore Festival competition. It was his first orchestral work to be heard in this city. Mr. Collins composed the overture with a lively memory of the emotions created by the great war. He succeeds in creating by his orchestration the feeling of horror which overwhelmed the world when it began to realize what had happened. No work, musical or otherwise, not even the magnum opus of a genius, could compass all that happened in that fated ‘1914.’ But it says much for Mr. Collins’s imaginative powers that he stirred the remembrance and evoked the poignancy of regret that accompanied that dread event.” —New York Times

Concert Piece in A minor (Concerto No. 2)

3 December 1931; Orchestra Hall; Chicago, Illinois, USA

Edward Collins, piano; Frederick Stock, conductor; Chicago Symphony Orchestra

“… splendor in its imagery, and a faunish hint of capricious gaiety and something gallant that captured fantasy in terms of modern melody This was exciting music which beguiled instant attention, juggled rhapsodically with brilliance and mounted triumphantly to the urgent demand for crisp, magnetic climax. It was a first performance worth treasuring, for unquestionably it is destine[d] to occupy a gracious niche in the literature of the orchestra.” —Claudia Cassidy, Chicago Sun-Times

“Edward Collins played his new concerto for pianoforte and orchestra with the symphony last night and scored one of the hits of the season. This fine Irish-American musician deserves a debt of thanks from Americans of whatever origin who concern themselves with music. He did much last night to make the public forget the Mason symphony and the Withorn violin concerto. Perhaps the gift to make music importantly has not been entirely denied us, as most Americans devoutly and stubbornly believe. Yes, there must have been a liberal sprinkling of foreigners in Orchestra Hall last night, for Mr. Collins was applauded to the echo. His work has splendid rhythmical impulse, fine melodic invention, a rich harmonic palette. It is brilliantly set upon the keyboard and in the orchestra, and he is by all means the artist to play it. It has been a grievance of mine that this gifted pianist has not played more in Chicago and abroad in the land. Here he is recognized and has a definite following among lovers of piano music. But having heard this concerto and the set of piano variations on an Irish tune which he presented last Spring, I have become converted to his present way of life. I believe that his compositions have enduring worth as well as immediate interest.” —Glen Dillard Gunn, Chicago Herald and Examiner

“Edward Collin, Chicago pianist and composer, was the soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra last night, appearing in the first capacity when he played the Haydn Concerto in D, and in both when he played his own concert piece for piano and orchestra, a first performance by the way. He who would play Haydn with approbation must have agile and neatly coordinated fingers. Mr. Collins has them. He who would compose with approbation must have the power to invent a musical idea of some importance and skill. Mr. Collins has these also. He speaks the contemporary musical idiom fluently, which is a good thing, but he has something striking to say with it, which is a better one. The particular idiom is, after all, not so important so long as it is expertly handled; the matter of the composition is highly important. Mr. Collins would seem to have made a tonic and stimulating addition to piano literature. His concert piece is full of vitality, its melodic material is excellent, and it wastes no time. Also he is a pianist and consequently an interpreter of much more than ordinary ability.” —Edward Moore, Chicago Evening Journal

Variations on an Irish Tune; Four waltzes; Nocturne; Tango (in Form of a Rondo)

May 1936; Studebaker Theater; Chicago, Illinois, USA

Edward Collins, piano

“… a Chicago pianist and teacher who has enjoyed for many years a steadily growing reputation as a composer, played several things from his own pen . . . The set of variations he has built on a movingly beautiful Irish folk song called ‘O, the ‘Taters They Are Small Over Here’ turned out to be an intelligent (and successful) attempt to exploit the opportunities such a simple tune offers for rhythmic variety . . . The composer’s cult of the exquisite was revealed in his four contrasting waltzes and the highly attractive nocturne. A ‘Cowboy’s Breakdown,’ quite a different sort of music, caught the audience’s fancy through its bold and forthright primitiveness. Mr. Collins plays the piano in a patrician manner, with great attention to clearness of line and beauty of tone. He treats it as a lyric instrument primarily, and does not try for big dynamic or emotional effects. His delivery of the theme of the ‘’Taters’ song was a startling demonstration of what an expert pianist can do with an apparently simple melody. … Its title is ‘Tango,’ and the music is as fascinating as the name. —Chicago Tribune

Lil’ David Play On Yo’ Harp; The 5:45, and other works by Collins; various works by other composers

10 June 1940; Kimball Hall; Chicago, Illinois, USA

Edward Collins, piano; Maryum Horn, piano

“… drew another capacity audience to their joint recital in the American Conservatory faculty series. The playing of Mr. Collins invariably has the stamp of experienced artistry… . In his closing group, all but one of which were from his own pen, Mr. Collins struck fire and captivated his listeners by his style, clarity, keen originality. Li’l David and The 5:45 are full of the modern idiom of restless energy and spirit. Many encores were in order.” —Music News

Tragic Overture

5 March 1942; Orchestra Hall; Chicago, Illinois, USA

Edward Collins, conductor; Chicago Symphony Orchestra

“Edward Collins, resident pianist-composer-conductor, took the stand for his own “Tragic Overture,” which he directed with a sure hand to a victorious end. The piece has been restored after a lapse of years, and hearing it anew, its descriptive orchestration marks well the significance of the tragedy, intended to depict in massive orchestration the horrors of World War No. I. Composer and Conductor Collins has reason to feel proud at the success of his grand overture—first because the people knew how to appreciate his creative talent, and second because he is Chicago’s own.” —Remi Gassmann, Chicago Sun-Times

“Personal honors were shared last night between Claudio Arrau and the Chicago pianist, Edward Collins, who appeared, however, as a conductor. Dr. Stock left the podium to Mr. Collins to direct ‘A Tragic Overture,’ a work Collins composed shortly after he returned to America from his participation in the first World War. As heard last night, with its wealth of war motifs, energetically and well-handled, Mr. Collins’ composition might be considered an aftermath of the First War and an overture to the second. … Mr. Collins’ overture is almost the first sturdy piece with a war content that has been heard in the high-grade halls of Chicago this season, except the established classics. A work must have bigness to sustain the test of a performance by a great orchestra, and Mr. Collins’ Overture didn’t falter last night. … a musical interpretation of war to stir the imagination.”—William Leonard, Chicago Tribune


Reviews: Performance and Composition (1991-2011; selected)

Set of Four (Passacaglia, Set of Four); Ballet—Suite: Masque of the Red Death (Chez le Sultan, Orgie); Songs (A Piper, Prayer for C.H.S., Daffodils, Song and Suds) arr. Verne Reynolds; Hymn to the Earth (Chorale); Piano Concerto No. 2 (Concert Piece in A Minor)

4 January 1991; Henry M. Flagler Museum; Palm Beach, Florida, USA

Anna Patrick Singer, soprano; Nana Mukhadze, piano; Anton Guadagno, conductor; Palm Beach Chamber Orchestra

“[The Concert Piece] was enormous fun . . . Cowboy’s Breakdown . . . with fine spirit it creates a fantasy hoedown … it served to typify the wit that runs beneath the surface of Collins’ work.” —Juliette de Marcellus, Palm Beach Daily News (6 Jan. 1991)

Tragic Overture

15 May 1994; Carnegie Hall; New York, New York, USA

Dennis Russell Davies, conductor; American Composers Orchestra

“… a well-made melodrama … celebrates more modern calamity than Romantic tragedy … Cinematic may be the best word for this music. Its methods are efficient, its tone theatrical and its language easily grasped.” —Bernard Holland, New York Times

Suite for Violoncello and Piano

3 November 2002; Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall; New York, New York, USA

Walter Preucil, violoncello; William Koehler, piano

“… The Suite is a substantial piece in four contrasting movements, well-written for the instruments, clearly structured, and skillfully composed in its own distinctive voice.” —Edith Eisler, New York Concert Review

Tragic Overture

8~10 October 2004 (three performances); Lighthouse; Poole, UK

Marin Alsop, conductor; Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

“… it is not surprising to find German late-Romanticism casting its shadow over his music, though there is also an individual voice that is hard to describe—the themes … call no other composer to mind … he does conjure up impressive atmosphere … The scoring, for full orchestra including piano, is rich.” —John Allison, The Times (London)

Concerto No. 3, for Piano with Orchestra Accompaniment, in B Minor

1~3 April 2005 (three performances); Boettcher Concert Hall; Denver, Colorado, USA

William Wolfram, piano; Marin Alsop, conductor; Colorado Symphony Orchestra

“… a distinctive sound of his own… striking orchestrations. … An ardent champion of Collins, Alsop led a powerful, eye-opening performance … —Kyle MacMillan, Denver Post (3 Apr. 2005)

Daughter of the South

22 October 2011; Grace Presbyterian Church; Peoria, IL, USA

George Stelluto, conductor; Peoria Symphony Orchestra ,

“[Collins had] … formidable composing skills … [and knew] how to pack a song with drama: Mary Lou’s aria ‘Again the year has come to the spring’ does well with contrasting musical moods as the character dwells on her isolation, remembers happier times in a springtime past, and mourns the present. … A polyphonic interweaving of ‘Dixie’ and ‘The Girl I Left Behind,’ a folk song, is brilliant.” —Gary Panetta, Peoria Journal Star (24 Oct. 2011)

Tragic Overture

10 & 13 November 2011 (two performances); Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall; Baltimore, MD, USA

Marin Alsop, conductor; Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

“... Alsop, who has recorded many works by Collins, chose one of them to balance the standard fare by George Gershwin and Aaron Copland in the latest Baltimore Symphony Orchestra program. … The ‘Tragic Overture’ … has a dramatic punch, alleviated occasionally with sweeter material, but references to ‘Taps’ near the end leave no doubt as to the underlying message of the music. … neo-romantic, expertly crafted music. … The audience’s hearty response suggested that folks here would welcome an opportunity to hear more by this unsung American composer.” —Tim Page, Baltimore Sun (11 Nov. 2011)


Reviews: Recordings (1998-2011; selected)



Variations on an Irish Tune (for piano solo) and other piano solo works (twelve); Allegro piacevole (for string quartet)

Earl Wild, piano; Manhattan String Quartet

Tango (in Form of a Rondo) and other piano solo works (five)

Gunnar Johansen, piano

“… expertly wrought Allegro Piacevole.” —Andrew Quint, American Record Guide (May/June 1998)

“… [the string quartet movement is] influenced by the famous pair of quartets by Debussy and Ravel but is an original and very enjoyable effort… . It is a shame he never finished it, since it could very well have earned a spot in a repertoire where American composers are not well represented.” —James Harrington, American Record Guide (March/April 2011)


Mardi Gras, Concert Piece in A Minor (Concerto No. 2), Tragic Overture, Valse Elegante

Leslie Stifelman, piano; Marin Alsop, conductor; Concordia Orchestra

“This disc is something special. Here, we have unfamiliar but immediately engaging music, superbly performed and very well recorded. Edward Collins’s music will appeal to those who enjoy the more conservative vein of American composition that runs… through such later examples as Howard Hanson and Samuel Barber. …even the most dyed-in-the-wool modernist can’t fail to acknowledge the charm and unfailing skill of [Collins’s] efforts. . . . Mardi Gras has a jubilant abandon, employing the lush tonality of a Strauss tone poem. Collins has impressionist affinities as well, and whole-tone figurations are heard episodically. The very beginning of the 21-minute Concertpiece in A Minor sounds for all the world like Hindemith. … and though some leaner textures do emerge, the writing is inescapably Romantic in impulse and gesture… . As might be expected from an accomplished pianist, the writing for the solo instrument is assured and characteristic. …[Valse Elegante is] graceful, and mildly wistful… . Collins does have his own distinctive voice… [he] demonstrates a fondness for “eccentric” meters and angular cross-rhythms… . Ultimately, Collins’s music comes across as thoroughly American in its optimistic and spirited extroversion. Nothing on this CD comes close to overstaying its welcome; in fact, one is left wanting more … Records like this don’t come along as often as they should. Enthusiastically, even urgently, recommended. —Andrew Quint, American Record Guide (May/June 1998)


Symphony (Nos habebit humus) in B minor; Concerto No. 3 in B minor

William Wolfram, piano; Marin Alsop, conductor; Royal Scottish National Orchestra

“… Collins’s invention is personal, strong and inventive in its post-Mahlerian Romanticism. …William Wolfram is a committed and perceptive soloist . . . Congratulations to Marin Alsop and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra for such sympathetic and well-prepared performances…” —Colin Anderson, International Record Review (March 2004)

“… [Concerto No. 3] very passionate, often seething and evoking a struggle. …moves restlessly forward, always unfolding and surging, often with new episodes. The Symphony in B minor uses a huge orchestra and is based on an angular theme that is noble, suave, and mysterious… [it] does not yield its treasures right away—particularly the noisy finale—but it rewards repeated listening and examination.” —Roger Hecht, American Record Guide (January/February 2004)

“… a composer of no mean distinction. His music is excellently crafted and highly individual. …a curiously compelling memorability… a grand arch of sound, gives eloquent evidence of the sure hand of a true symphonist. The performances here sound very assured and sympathetic. In the concerto, William Wolfram makes some ravishing sounds . . . Marin Alsop and the Scottish players giving a thoroughly committed and professional account. … Fine sonics add the finishing touch to a very rewarding release. —David Hurwitz, Classics Today Reviews


Hibernia (Irish Rhapsody), Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major, Lil’ David Play On Yo’ Harp, Lament and Jig

William Wolfram, piano; Marin Alsop, conductor; Royal Scottish National Orchestra

“… The main entry is the Piano Concerto in E-Flat… has an attractive tonal beauty, engaging contrasts, wistful melodic phrases, and a soft, candle-like intensity … a certain lavish precision and fineness of temperament imbues the piece with tender sophistication. …Hibernia [is] lively and full of contrasting mood… . This is a fine introduction to a worthy, unfairly neglected American composer. Marin Alsop conducts with sensitivity, and William Wolfram has the right touch…” —Philip Haldeman, American Record Guide (March/April 2004)

“… Hibernia (Irish Rhapsody) is a big, beautiful chuck on late Romantic music… . The large orchestra makes an impressive sound, Collins scores with unfailing brilliance and a keen ear … Piano Concerto No. 1 is every bit as successful, particularly its finale ‘Al’Americana’ … well-constructed, thematically memorable piece that most composers would be proud to claim as their own. … Lovely, vivacious performances (with William Wolfram a confident soloist in the concerto), very well played and conducted, and excellent recorded sound … neglected but very worthy composer. —David Hurwitz, Classics Today (June 2004)

“… ‘Hibernia’ illustrates his mastery of orchestration… The big piece here is Collins’s First Piano Concerto… it sounds almost Delian harmonically and in its somewhat elusive form. But in the third movement there are quintessentially American syncopated rhythms… There are engaging and memorable melodic ideas scattered throughout the piece… Marin Alsop … conducts the Royal Scottish National Orchestra as if she’s known the music all her life. William Wolfram is the fine pianist in the concerto. The recorded sound is warm, spacious, lifelike. —Scott Morrison,


Arabesque I, fifteen songs, Prayer (arr. for violoncello and piano), Suite for Violoncello and Piano

Patrice Michaels, soprano; Elizabeth Buccheri, piano (songs); Frank Almond, violin; Parry Karp, violoncello; Jeffrey Sykes, piano (instrumental duos)

“… a kind of Midwest Ralph Vaughan Williams … an exemplar of romantic, tonal tradition, keenly lyrical in manner. … It is attractive, well-made music . . . its long neglect is puzzling. …includes 15 of the composer’s 18 songs, sensitively performed by Chicago soprano Patrice Michaels, with Betty Buccheri at the piano. … More than a few of the songs are perfect little lyric gems. They are set off well by three attractive cello and violin pieces including the 1933 cello suite, a major work our top cellists really should investigate. …The performances and sound are beyond reproach.” —John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune (11 April 2004)

“… The songs are lovely, and Michaels has a warm and feel- ing way of projecting them. …Collins is a composer of sensitivity and power. There is a fresh, American flavor to the music . . . a 29-minute four-movement suite for cello and piano written in 1933 . . . is more rugged than most of the songs, with more dissonant harmonies and more jagged melodies . . . it repays study. The performance, by Karp and Sykes, is strong and effective. … Arabesque is an attractive four-minute piece, played with aplomb by Almond and Sykes. —D. Moore, American Record Guide (July/Aug. 2004)


Hymn to the Earth, Variations on an Irish Folksong, Cowboy’s Breakdown

Jeni Bern, soprano; Jane Irwin, mezzo-soprano; Peter Auty, tenor; Henry Waddington, bass; Marin Alsop, conductor; Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Chorus

“… Emerging podium star Marin Alsop and her esteemed Scottish forces plead an eloquent case for this very enjoyable music. …the lush and lovely Hymn to the Earth … fairly brims with music that sounds like it could only have been conceived in natural environs. …an impressionist, neo-romantic style reminiscent of such English “pastoralists” as Delius, Butterworth, and Vaughan Williams— but with a distinct Yankee twist. His imaginative scoring and sophisticated orchestrations convey his affinity for nature quite effectively. …savor Collins’s orchestral skill and his Irish heritage in his impressive Variations on an Irish Folksong … sweet, Celtic-hued melancholia, briefly relieved by a lively dance episode or two and some dramatic passages … a string of complex and artfully crafted variations that smack elegantly of Ravel here and there … two-minute bonbon called ‘Cowboy’s Breakdown’ … bouncy hoe- down theme … charming and ingenious orchestral effects. … Performances are splendid all around. … The sound is first-rate; we get full texts and informative notes. … an important re-discovery … That he has a champion of Alsop’s stature is a more important endorsement than mine. —Lindsay Koob, American Record Guide (Sept./Oct. 2004)

“… skillfully constructed … memorable moments, as in the beguiling soprano solo in waltz time … there is a neat fugal passage toward the end. …the remaining pieces on this disc… are utterly delightful. Written in 1935, the latter predates Aaron Copland’s essays in ‘cowboy music,’ and is of the same ilk. —Scott Morrison,


Ballet—Suite: Masque of the Red Death, Irish Rhapsody, Set of Four

Marin Alsop, conductor; Royal Scottish National Orchestra

“… Good works that deserve a better fate. Fans of Copland, Gershwin or any of the French Romantics will be certain to enjoy this music. … The works collected on this recording are easily the equal of Paul Dukas, Henri Duparc, or Ce?sar Franck. …while each of these pieces is easily comparable to other works, they do not mirror their inspirations so closely as to quiet the voice of the composer himself. The Ballet-Suite: Masque of the Red Death… contains a great deal of energy and metrical complexity that invigorates the work throughout… an excellent piece of music. Irish Rhapsody… is an interesting, energetic tone poem. It prominently features the bassoon and oboe, although strings and harp provide the fundament. … There is an energy and freeness that … in many ways defines what it means to be an American composer from this period. Set of Four… are well crafted and entertaining… makes fine use of the strings, passing melodic material up and down from cellos to violins and back again. Three of the pieces… shine in their brevity. The second movement… nearly ten minutes long, allowing a greater expressivity. In presenting these works… the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under the direction of… Marin Alsop does the listener a great service. Under her baton these works truly come to life. The recording is technically quite nice . . . Generally speaking, this is a solidly produced recording.

… These are good works, which deserve a better fate than they have so far been given. —Patrick Gary, MusicWeb International (Jan. 2005)

“… a very good, unjustly neglected composer whose music would add luster to a few latter-day Chicago Symphony concerts (anybody from the Ravinia Festival reading this?). … the Masque of the Red Death Suite… is the most substantial work here… . Collins has a deft ear for orchestration. …a pleasantly tuneful, polished effort at light Orientalism, sensual but only up to a PG rating . . . The Irish Rhapsody of 1927 reminds me of Morton Gould. It’s a splendidly orchestrated set of variations… . The ‘Set of Four’ consists of four brief but richly colorful, evocative orchestral pieces… adding up to nearly 20 minutes of aural pleasure. …Conductor Alsop and the orchestra seem so remarkably at home and well-rehearsed… The recorded sound… spacious, clear, and solid. …an unexpected, pleasant, and relaxing indulgence. —Philip Hansen, American Record Guide (Nov./Dec. 2004)

“Boy is this sexy! … Masque of the Red Death gives Strauss’ Salome a very good run for its money in the decadence department ... over-the-top late-Romantic extravagance …Collins’ music is wonderfully lush and beautifully scored… . Set of Four is… harmonically rich, opulent, sophisticated music composed by an artist with a sure sense of style and (what’s even better) a good sense of timing. … All of these works deserve to be played and savored by music lovers… . Marin Alsop gets very impressive results from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra… these performances do the composer proud, and they are extremely well recorded.” —David Hurwitz, Classics Today (July 2004)


Piano Trio (Geronimo), Op. 1; Songs; Piano solo works (eleven)

Julie Albers, violoncello; Patrice Michaels, soprano; Anna Polonsky, piano; Arnaud Sussman, violin; Jeffrey Sykes, piano

“. . . distinctive and beautifully crafted chamber music . . . —New Classics

“The the major work on the disc...most appealing and significant addition to the piano-trio repertoire. …mastery of both form and content. It is superbly played… . One cannot listen to several of the solo piano pieces… without hearing echoes of Brahms’s late piano pieces, with perhaps a bit of an overlay of Debussy. The concluding two tracks, however— Joshua Fit de Battle ob Jericho and The 5:48 —are of a rather different musical persuasion… their spiky jazz rhythms and sharp dissonances suggest that Collins was by now in thrall to Gershwin, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, and perhaps even Bernstein’s 1944 ballet, Fancy Free. …well worth acquiring . … Recommended. —Jerry Dubins, Fanfare Magazine, (22 October 2009)

“… [Collins’s] music could be described as tonal, lyrical, impressionistic, rhapsodic, and occasionally with an American flavor. This disc contains . . . most prominently his Piano Trio, Op. 1… in four movements. I. Allegro non troppo ... soon develops into a sprightly allegro that reminds one perhaps of some early English impressionist music by, say, Frank Bridge . . . Most impressive (and longest) of the piano pieces is ‘Nocturne’ … ‘June Night’ … is wreathed in impressionistic harmonies. —Scott Morrison, Amazon (27 May 2009)


Daughter of the South (opera, in one act and two scenes)

Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Chorus; Marin Alsop, conductor; Lisa Milne, soprano (MARY LOU RANDOLPH); Andrea Baker, mezzo-soprano (ESMERELDA); Peter Auty, tenor (ROBERT WARREN); Peter Coleman-Wright, baritone (COL. ED- MOND RANDOLPH); Roland Wood, baritone (CONFEDERATE SERGEANT); Keel Watson, bass (JONAH)

“The score recalls the effulgent lyricism of film scores of the era . . . flavored with a folksy American character. Collins was an inventive orchestrator . . . his text-setting is intelligent . . . The recording is a valuable document of early 20th century American post-Romantic opera, a genre that’s virtually invisible to most listeners and opera lovers. The opera is beautifully performed... and energetically led...” —Stephen Eddins, (2010)

“… the music is unique to Collins, who suffuses it with an assortment of folk tunes in addition to popular, jazz and blues elements from the 1920-30s . . . [this reviewer] must rank it with such romantic American operas as Howard Hanson’s ... Merry Mount … rare bit of Americana. … Recommended.” —Bob McQuiston, Classical Lost and Found (Crocks Newsletter) (30 Sept. 2010)

“… I’m glad that the keepers of the Collins flame went to the trouble … this 75-minute work would make for a rewarding half-evening in the theater... . A fascinating... musico-dramatic specimen that will be of interest to many. Recommended.” —Andrew Quint, Fanfare (2011)


Sonata Op. 2 or 14 (for violin and piano; first movement only); Arabesque II; Variations on a Negro Theme (for piano solo); Variations on an Irish Theme (for piano solo); Piano solo works (two); Songs from the operetta Who Can Tell? (two)

Patrice Michaels, soprano; Arnaud Sussman, violin; Anna Polonsky, piano

Six Valses Caractéristiques, Op. 18

William Browning, piano

“… writing is late romantic, but with a Midwestern clarity of purpose that tempers any romantic turgidity, usually for the better. ... The violin sonata movement is . . . an early work, but already Collins’s style was well developed, especially his use of harmony. That, and the ‘Arabesque’ that follows are delightful... . Variations on a Negro Theme … is often abstract and even detached—the texture is fairly sparse, dissonant enough some- times to approach Schoenberg’s piano pieces. The Variations on an Irish Theme ... is more consonant and emotional, with interesting polyrhythmic writing; the variations flow into each other more naturally, too. ... The 6 Characteristic Waltzes are the most turbulent Collins I’ve heard—plenty of bravura, high romantic stuff, but still with his compositional rigor. —Stephen Estep, American Record Guide (January/February 2011)

“... The [violin sonata] writing is late Romantic with Brahms rapidly receding in the rearview mirror as Faurè and Debussy appear in the side-view mirrors. The two variation pieces—Variations on a Negro Theme, based on the spiritual “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel?” and the Variations on an Irish Theme, based on the Irish-American folksong “O! The ’Taters over Here Are Small” ... written in the 1930s and 1940s ... sound almost as if Collins had an encounter with Messiaen’s 1929 piano preludes. The music is very modernistic—flighty and irregular in rhythm, dissonant in harmony, angular in melody, and heavily reliant on klangfarbe for its textures. … From the Messiaen-like variations, we travel backward in time to the Bach-steeped Canons and Technical Stunts. …But I’m not sure even Bach could or would have whipped up a canon on ... Dixie, as Collins cleverly does in the sixth and concluding Stunt. …With the Valses, we slip back once again into a kind of easygoing albeit more modern-styled salon mode. … I’m not sure how well Collins’s music will wear on repeated hearings, but positive initial acquaintance should make finding out worthwhile. Recommended. —Jerry Dubins, Fanfare (2011)

Edward Joseph Collins Project
Project Coordinator
Website Design: Duffco
Composer Portrait: Joseph Ciardello
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