Exuberant performances of irrepressibly melodic, profoundly delightful music
News and Press
The end of the CD era, we have long been told, is near. And it’s true that the onetime flood has narrowed to a flow, sometimes steady, sometimes faltering. But a few major labels and many small ones keep putting out many excellent recordings, as represented by the two dozen examples here, chosen by classical critics of The New York Times as records of the year.
Michael Gandolfi: Y2K Compliant
Boston Modern Orchestra Project, conducted by Gil Rose
Michael Gandolfi (b. 1956) is based in Boston, and has close ties, as both a former student and current faculty member, with the New England Conservatory and Tanglewood. This disc is a good introduction to his work, not only because it’s of high quality, but also because it shows the distinct development of his voice.
Michael Gandolfi (b. 1956) teaches at Tanglewood, so it is reasonable that his music should appear on the Boston Modern Orchestra Project’s label. This band, under its music director and conductor Gil Rose, is dedicated to the performance and promotion of contemporary American music. The members have successfully recorded several CDs for other companies, but this program and a recording of John Harbison’s ballet Ulysses are the inaugural releases on their home label. The fact has been a while in the offing. Well, it is here now, and the results are brilliant.
Three orchestral works by Michael Gandolfi, composer of The Garden of Cosmic Speculation (M/J 2008). In his highly useful notes, Robert Kirzinger knights Gandolfi “master of innumerable compositional approaches”, purveyor of a technical and stylistic smorgasbord that will at least partly please everybody. As with Cosmic Speculation, there is great skill on display, though what this display of variety adds up to is anybody’s guess.
MICHAEL GANDOLFI’S music has some of the rigor of the mid-20th-century atonalists, but it also draws on the richness of melody and timbre prized by the neo-Romantics. You would not put his work firmly in either category, and that’s probably for the best, since much of its appeal is in the ease with which it moves between those poles. One moment you’re taken with its braininess, its structural logic and textural intricacy; the next you’re struck by the flow of fresh ideas, vivid orchestration and rhythmic vitality, all of which give it a visceral punch.
The Y2K doomsday scenario and all its associated satire had grown tiresome long before 1999 was up. Neverthless, this hasn’t stopped composer Michael Gandolfi revisiting the topic with his latest release Y2K Compliant.
The music of American composer Michael Gandolfi (b. 1956) is the subject of another winning release from BMOP/sound (see the newsletter of 15 April 2008). Many will remember this composer for his large, extended orchestral work The Garden of Cosmic Speculation released last year, but here we have three of his smaller-scale pieces. If anything, they show he can do even more with less, and is a master colorist in the best sense of the term.
This is a wonderful collection of pieces. Although all 3 pieces are unique, they compliment each other well musically and thematically. A set of music that provides a welcome hour of enjoyment. Overall the CD has a variety of styles that each work for the individual pieces.
The news these days about the classical music recording industry is almost always bleak, so it’s a pleasure to report a bright spot on that landscape: the Boston Modern Orchestra Project has finally launched its own record label called BMOP/sound.
Classical compositions about technology can often be dry, rather charm-less affairs. But the Boston composer Michael Gandolfi has written a piece about computers that’s full of bright, quirky sonorities and bustling rhythms. It’s called Y2K Compliant, and, as the title implies, it’s a satirical response to all the doomsday predictions of the Y2K bug back in 1999. The piece was premiered in 2000 and it’s now just out on a CD by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project.
BMOP/sound, the nation's foremost label launched by an orchestra and devoted exclusively to new music recordings, announces the release of its second album, Michael Gandolfi: Y2K Compliant. Known for his rhythmically buoyant, complex and colorful works, Gandolfi, a faculty member of New England Conservatory, is a master of innumerable compositional approaches, all evident in the disc's three pieces.
The Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), an orchestra devoted exclusively to performing and commissioning new music, has announced it will launch an in-house record label, BMOP Sound, in January.
BMOP Sound will release five world premiere CDs early next year: John Harbison’s Ulysses, Michael Gandolfi’s Y2K Compliant, Gunther Schuller’s Journey Into Jazz (with the composer narrating), Lee Hyla’s Lives of the Saints (with mezzo-soprano Mary Nessinger), and Charles Fussell’s Wilde (with baritone Sanford Sylvan).