City Scape / Concerto for Orchestra
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : いいえ
- 製品サイズ : 12.5 x 14.2 x 1.09 cm; 89.87 g
- メーカー : Telarc
- EAN : 0089408062025, 0894080620254
- 商品モデル番号 : 2023357
- オリジナル盤発売日 : 2004
- SPARSコード : DDD
- レーベル : Telarc
- ASIN : B0001KL4HW
- ディスク枚数 : 1
TELA 80620 2; TELARC - Stati Uniti;
Jennifer Higdon is a masterful colorist whose music is immediately appealing, full of energy and dash, but also with lyrical movements that grab you and hold your interest with their variety and melodic freshness. She can be brassy and bold like William Schuman and lushly Romantic like Samuel Barber, to mention just two American predecessors her music calls to mind. She also has a strong profile of her own, as we hear in City Scapes, a musical portrait of Atlanta that captures the bustle of a metropolis on the move. It's centerpiece, "river sings a song to trees," is wonderfully paced and engrossing. Concerto for Orchestra is a grand workout for a virtuoso band, teeming with solo turns that can tax all but the best musicians, and passages that spotlight sections of the orchestra with opportunities to strut their stuff. It's a brilliant piece brilliantly played by the Atlantans. Add Telarc's usual terrific sound and this disc becomes a must for fans of accessible modern music. --Dan Davis
Both works are effectively showpieces for the orchestra and, particularly with the Concerto, they sound scintillating at times. Many critics have praised this recording lavishly whilst others have been left completely cold by it, suggesting that the music lacks any depth or substance. It is particularly notable that Jennifer Higdon has had great success in the USA but her works have been less enthusiastically received elsewhere - perhaps the American know something that the rest don't.
That makes it very difficult to write a helpful review when the pieces seem to polarise responses. I have given it four stars largely because of the excellent performnces and the music's surface colour but I have some reservations about the two works - the Concerto for Orchestra particularly. I can understand, however, why some may like them.
what is likeable is:-
1. Both works are energetic and colourfully scored. It will sound very exciting on first hearing.
2. The Concerto echoes the form of Bartok's Concerto.
3. The musical language is easily accessible sounding like a very busy and colourful version of Hindemith combined with some American muscle. The City Scape has echoes of Copland with a bit Stravinsky thrown in. It is a little less showy than the Concerto, understandably, but with a little more expressive weight.
4. The music is held together by a strong physical momentum as the material is passed through the orchestral sections in waves - particularly in the Concerto. Apparently the players love it.
5. Performance and sonics are top class.
What are my reservations? Colourful as the material may be it is perculiarly unmemorable, particularly in the hyperactive Concerto. The music sounds exciting at first but neither very original or with any thematic development. For works written in such a traditional language this is frustrating. It relies too much on first impressions and could be accused of being more concerned with surface gloss rather than any depth.
There's certainly nothing to offend in this music and with such a fine recording you might wish to take a risk and purchase.
A considerable bargain
The Concerto for Orchestra (2002) is at least full of exuberant rhythms and brilliantly developed textural evolutions. The work is cast in five movements (like Bartók's, which seems to have been a source of inspiration, but which nevertheless is quite removed from Higdon's somewhat slicker work), and characterized by forward momentum, brilliant scoring (especially the percussion), and some beautiful moments of calm. That description sums up the first movement pretty well, at least. The second movement, for strings, is perhaps the most obviously melodic movement; it works itself from a pizzicato opening to gradually solidifying textures when section after section start using bows. The third movement is a substantial and very colorful slow movement with plenty of (excellently performed) solo material. The fourth movement, for percussion, is imaginative and inventive, and builds up to some exciting climaxes. The final movement is a highly energetic, quick-paced, and very enjoyable (and surely a real challenge to the players, who tackle it with aplomb). Overall, this is a fascinating and rewarding work.
City Scape consists of three movements constructed to be performable separately as well as together as a single whole. The movements are impressions or reflections of Atlanta (where Higdon grew up), opening with "Skyline", a bold, exuberant, rhythmically muscular and lively movement, though without really any memorable material. The "River sings a song to the trees" is by far the longest movement on the disc, and while there are some evocative details this is unfortunately a pretty meandering and aimless piece of the kind you have heard innumerable times before from modern tonal composers. The finale, "Peachtree Street" is buoyant and brilliantly scored, and pretty enjoyable even though it tends to go for cheap thrills. Overall, this is a decent but hardly exceptional work.
The performances are absolutely superb. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra plays with spirit and panache, and there is immaculate attention to detail and wonderfully realized textures to boot - I doubt this music could have found better advocacy than this. The sound is excellent as well, and the notes are interesting. Overall, then, this is an impressive release; the Concerto for orchestra is definitely worth hearing and deserves to be picked up by other orchestras as well; City Scape is more of a run-of-the-mill piece that does contain some interesting parts. Nevertheless, a recommendable disc.
Higdon has captured the city of Atlanta in todays terms...and done it beautifully. GET THIS CD as the soundstage is very wide, detailed and an exciting experience for the ear...all brought to us by the geniuses at TELARC. ITS A WINNER.