"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
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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
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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
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Media Quote 

I enjoyed this thoroughly, and so will you.

Media Contact Name 
Steven Ritter

Leonard Link reviews Virgil Thomson: Three Pieces

Regular readers of this blog will know that one of my favorite singers is the baritone Thomas Meglioranza. I’m pleased to report a new recording by Mr. Meglioranza of music for baritone and orchestra by Virgil Thomson on the Boston Modern Orchestra Project label. He sings the Five Songs from William Blake and The Feast of Love, and joins with soprano Kristen Watson in Collected Poems, a witty setting of words and phrases by Kenneth Koch.

Media Date 
October 24, 2010
Media Source 
Leonard Link
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Media Quote 

Well worth the investment to learn more about an under-appreciated mid-20th-century American composer.

The San Francisco Chronicle reviews Lisa Bielawa: In Media Res

The wealth of beautiful and inventive music on this double CD is the outgrowth of a three-year residency by composer Lisa Bielawa with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. It’s a wonderful document, not only for the works included, but for the portrait it offers of a rewarding artistic collaboration.

Media Date 
January 9, 2011
Media Source 
The San Francisco Chronicle
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A wealth of beautiful and inventive music.

Media Contact Name 
Joshua Kosman

Fanfare reviews Lisa Bielawa: In Media Res

The more new music I review, the more I am amazed by how much good music there actually is (yes, and bad). Lisa Bielawa has the phenomenal orchestral chops to warrant a two-CD set, including one full CD of music performed by the notable Boston Modern Orchestra Project. Bielawa’s ability to write for full orchestra alone is admirable, but this composer is gifted with much more than technical competency – and she’s accessible without being trite, fun without being light, serious without being dull.

Media Date 
January 1, 2011
Media Source 
Fanfare
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Media Quote 

Some of the best orchestral sound I've heard.

Media Contact Name 
David Wolman

Jeremy Eichler's top classical albums of 2010

The artistic fruits of Lisa Bielawa’s recent tenure as BMOP’s composer-in-residence are beautifully presented on this two-disc set, including her Double Violin Concerto and her Concerto for Orchestra, both of which place her hauntingly lyrical yet restlessly inventive compositional voice on full display.

© Copyright 2010 Globe Newspaper Company

Media Date 
December 19, 2010
Media Source 
The Boston Globe
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Media Quote 

Beautifully presented.

Media Contact Name 
Jeremy Eichler
Media Contact Title 
Globe Staff

Literary triumph in CD form

What composer and vocalist Lisa Bielawa does with text might be considered the exact opposite job of a music critic. Instead of putting music into words, she turns words into music — not just setting them for songs, but using them as the jumping-off point for much of what she does.

Media Date 
November 12, 2010
Media Source 
The Star-Ledger
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The music often sounds as if it might have come out of a film score — not splashy blockbuster schmaltz, but something startlingly, viscerally evocative.

Media Contact Name 
Ronni Reich

Audiophile Audition reviews Lisa Bielawa: In Media Res

Contemporary American composer Lisa Bielawa (b.1968) majored in literature at Yale University and her love for the written word is one source of inspiration for her music. She values her relationships with the musicians she works with, and many of the compositions on this disc are dedicated to the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), where she completed a three year residency project in 2009. She tours with the Phillip Glass Ensemble and is the winner of the 2009 Rome Prize.

Media Date 
September 1, 2010
Media Source 
Audiophile Audition
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Media Quote 

Those interested in contemporary music at its most creative will revel in these CDs.

Media Contact Name 
Robert Moon

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