Stereophile reviews Lisa Bielawa: In Medias Res

Lisa Bielawa is a major new voice in music, and this two-disc set contains some of the most blindingly beautiful and original works I have heard in a while. Time Out New York describes Bielawa as possessing a “prodigious gift for mingling persuasive melodicism with organic experimentation,” and that well captures my feelings. Her In medias res (Concerto for Orchestra) combines traditional harmonies with shifting tonalities.

Media Date 
March 1, 2011
Media Source 
Stereophile
Media Location 
Boston, MA
Media 
Media Quote 

I have nothing but praise for all the performers, but wish to single out Gil Rose and BMOP for their efforts, and their ability to present new music to new ears.

American Record Guide reviews Steven Mackey: Dreamhouse

Steven Mackey’s Dreamhouse is and odd assemblage dealing with, as the title suggests, the building of a perfect home, with a libretto filled with architectural details improvised on by Mr. Mackey and tenor and fellow librettist Rinde Eckert. In addition to Mr. Eckert, who sings not only as tenor but with falsetto, and functions as speaking actor as well, the work is scored for a small Hilliard Ensemble-type vocal consort, an electric guitar quartet, and large orchestra. The music is varied in its influences, but is unambiguously American in tone and aesthetic stance.

Media Date 
March 1, 2011
Media Source 
American Record Guide
Media Location 
Boston, MA
Media 
Media Quote 

There is plenty of syncopation and generous catchy bits, passages of Ivesian intricacy as well as moments of lush dreaminess.

Media Contact Name 
Allen Gimbel

Audiophile Audition reviews Steven Mackey: Dreamhouse

First, I will clarify what I went straight to the booklet notes to find out. Rinde Eckert is the co-author of the libretto and sound design for this very unusual, not unpleasant – just kind of weird - project. In this sense, then, he does deserve credit and kudos for the project; a kind of “architect” in the sense of the piece as well as the figurative “architect” of the “dream house” of the title.

Media Date 
January 24, 2011
Media Source 
Audiophile Audition
Media 
Media Quote 

I found the work's last section, Dreamhouse, the most enjoyable with sections of beauty, intrigue; even eerie in places.

Media Contact Name 
Daniel Coombs

Gramophone reviews Steven Mackey: Dreamhouse

Musical works are often analysed and described in architectural terms, but how many are actually about architecture? Steven Mackey’s Dreamhouse takes up the subject with explosive and ethereal imagination. Scored for vocal quartet, electric guitar quartet and orchestra, the piece is a rumination on the design and construction of the eponymous house, complete with Architect as speaking and singing narrator. Mackey’s mastery of musical styles, from oldest to the most recent, allowed him to fill his three-part extravaganza with a cavalcade of disarming and jolting sonic ideas.
Media Date 
February 1, 2011
Media Source 
Gramophone
Media 
Media Quote 
The recording features Gil Rose, BMOP, Synergy Vocals, Catch Electric Guitar Quartet, and Eckert in a performance of volatile and luminous beauty.
Media Contact Name 
Donald Rosenberg

Fanfare reviews Virgil Thomson: Three Pictures

Virgil Thomson (1896-1989) is an American composer often talked about and referred to, but infrequently performed. The major record labels have pretty much ignored him, though smaller labels have done a reasonable job in representing his music. This disc, from the label of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, is a significant addition to the Thomson discography.

Media Date 
January 1, 2011
Media Source 
Fanfare
Media 
Media Quote 

For anyone interested in American music, this is an essential disc.

Media Contact Name 
Henry Fogel

Fanfare reviews Virgil Thomson: Three Pictures

For many (myself included), the music of Virgil Thomson (1896-1989) is an acquired taste. Originally I was rather put off by the harmonic simplicity (and occasional banality) of his dominant musical language – a language built almost exclusively upon simple hymnal harmonies and American folk rhythms. However, as the years have passed, I have come to deeply admire music of his work, and several pieces have become true favorites that I listen to often.

Media Date 
January 1, 2011
Media Source 
Fanfare
Media 
Media Quote 

This is a must. I can't stop listening to it.

Media Contact Name 
Carson Cooman

American Record Guide reviews Virgil Thomson: Three Pictures

Concerning Virgil Thomson, Leonard Bernstein was right when he said, “He is a son of the hymnal.” Listening to this recording, that seems like a severe limitation. His melodies remain almost structurally naïve, akin to the more unsophisticated guitar hymns that arose once the vernacular replace Latin in the Catholic Church; their melodies sound like the notes of arpeggios with awkward harmonizations.

Media Date 
January 1, 2011
Media Source 
American Record Guide
Media 
Media Quote 

Concerning Virgil Thomson, Leonard Bernstein was right when he said, ‘He is a son of the hymnal.’

Media Contact Name 
Gil French

"Pictures" seldom played

For those who like to stump their musical friends with the old guess-the-composer game, a good puzzler would be “Sea Piece With Birds.”

This 1952 orchestral work, some four minutes of somber, heaving music, is thick with chromatic chords that move in big parallel blocks, with skittish atonal themes mingling hesitantly above. The atmospheric orchestral colors suggest strangely updated Debussy. A frenetic climax sounds like some ornery blast of Varèse.

The composer?

Media Date 
November 12, 2010
Media Source 
The New York Times
Media 
Media Quote 

The performances here are accomplished and engrossing.

Media Contact Name 
Anthony Tommasini

CLOFO reviews Virgil Thomson: Three Pictures

RECOMMENDED

The Harvard music department has certainly produced its share of distinguished American composers, including John Knowles Paine (1839-1905), Arthur Foote (1853-1937), John Alden Carpenter (1876-1951), and Walter Piston (1894-1976). But none was more influential than Mid-Westerner Virgil Thomson (1896-1989), who went on to study with Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979) in Paris during the 1920s.

Media Date 
November 22, 2010
Media Source 
Classical Lost and Found
Media 
Media Quote 

Virgil Thomson: Three Pictures represents another high point in their continuing championship of little known US repertoire.

Media Contact Name 
Bob McQuiston

Audiophile Audition reviews Virgil Thomson: Three Pictures

The Boston Modern Orchestra Project is currently represented in the catalog on about 33 releases, most well-worth investigation by those interested in the trends of contemporary music, and good contemporary music at that. It is time they turned their attention to one of the most misunderstood and really neglected composers: Virgil Thomson—critic, pianist, organist, and often vitriolic pundit. At least that is what the composers of the atonalist school thought; though no one was completely free from his often dead-on and yet highly provocative verbal barrages.

Media Date 
October 28, 2010
Media Source 
Audiophile Audition
Media 
Media Quote 

I enjoyed this thoroughly, and so will you.

Media Contact Name 
Steven Ritter

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