SOURCE: Naxos/Naxos of America

January 09, 2007 11:00 ET

Naxos to Release Pare Lorentz Films "The Plow That Broke The Plains" and "The River" on DVD January 30th -- With First Modern Recorded Versions of Virgil Thomson Soundtracks

New Deal-Era Classics Feature Performances by Post-Classical Ensemble and Narrator Floyd King; Extras Include Original Soundtracks

FRANKLIN, TN and NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- January 9, 2007 -- On January 30th, classical music label Naxos will release a uniquely conceived DVD of director Pare Lorentz's landmark New Deal-era documentaries "The Plow that Broke the Plains" (1936) and "The River" (1938), featuring the first complete modern recordings of the seminal Virgil Thomson soundtracks by Washington, D.C.-based Post-Classical Ensemble under Angel Gil-Ordóñez with narration by Floyd King.

The DVD also contains the original soundtracks and narration as well as interviews with filmmaker George Stoney, Thomson associate Charles Fussell, and Thomson. Produced with the support of the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Film Institute, the DVD is distributed by Naxos of America of Franklin, Tennessee.

"The Plow that Broke the Plains" and "The River" remain strikingly topical, addressing the impact of humanity on its environment and the use of the media to communicate political messages. DVD Producer and Post-Classical Ensemble Artistic Director Joseph Horowitz explains: "Aesthetically they break new ground in seamlessly marrying pictorial imagery, symphonic music, and poetic free verse, all realized with supreme artistry. Ideologically, they indelibly encapsulate the strivings of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal."

"The Plow that Broke the Plains," which examines the causes of the Dust Bowl drought, was the first film produced by the United States Government for commercial release. Despite being shunned by the film distribution system as New Deal propaganda, the documentary reached people in over 3,000 theaters. "The River," which addressed flood control on the Mississippi River, won Best Documentary honors at the Venice Film Festival and received a Pulitzer Prize nomination for its script.

Virgil Thomson's soundtracks to both movies rank among the composer's greatest work and also set the trend in the 1930s and 1940s for a new style of film music. A young Aaron Copland found the scores to be "fresher, more simple, and more personal" than most Hollywood soundtracks, "a lesson in how to treat Americana."

Contact Information

    Mark A. Berry
    Publicist, Naxos of America
    222 East 46th Street, 303N
    New York, NY 10017
    212-681-4408 (phone)
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