San Francisco Chronicle on Elena Ruehr: O'Keeffe Images

The four orchestral works of composer Elena Ruehr that are assembled on this alluring disc by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project are striking for their combination of rhapsodic, almost sinful lushness and a robust force that keeps the effect from cloying. Her signature orchestrational move is to pull you in with the strings and then let the brass punch you in the gut, and it works every time — even when you know it’s coming. Even the overall course of the disc works that way.

Media Date 
March 19, 2015
Media Source 
San Francisco Chronicle
Media Location 
Boston, MA
Media 
Media Quote 

The title work brings things to an expansive and evocative close.

Media Contact Name 
Joshua Kosman

The Future of Orchestral Music in Two Pieces

If you’d like a glimpse of the future of symphonic music — or if you just want to know what devilish majesty the New York Philharmonic will shortly unleash — this two-year-old YouTube video from the Proms in London is a good place to start. It shows the world premiere of Thomas Adès’s Totentanz (Dance of Death), which the Philharmonic will perform March 12 through 14.

Media Date 
March 4, 2015
Media Source 
Vulture
Media Location 
Boston, MA
Media 
Media Quote 

At a time when orchestras are gasping for ways to be modern, when so many composers write for pared-down custom ensembles, and when minimalism has become practically scriptural, these dense, theatrical, and exhilarating pieces offer a way forward for the symphonic tradition.

Media Contact Name 
Justin Davidson

WebMusic International reviews Irving Fine: Complete Orchestral Works

To the list of those such as Toccata who fill the gaps of neglected music, I’m happy to add the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. Some of their releases have been too avant-garde for me, but there’s nothing about these recordings of the music of Irving Fine to scare the horses. In fact much of the music is as direct in its appeal as fellow American composers Aaron Copland – Fine’s older contemporary – and Leonard Bernstein.

Media Date 
March 2, 2015
Media Source 
MusicWeb International
Media Location 
Boston, MA
Media 
Media Quote 

I have greatly enjoyed hearing it and I believe that you will too

Media Contact Name 
Brian Wilson

Music Web International reviews Elena Ruehr: O'Keeffe Images

This is one of two recordings from the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) of which I received an mp3 preview. I regret that the other was well removed from my comfort zone.

I’m not aware that I have encountered the music of Elena Ruehr before, though there are two recordings of her music on Avie, one of which, also recently released, with the generic title Lift, contains chamber music (AV2319). The earlier CD, of music for soprano, baritone, chorus and orchestra was well received, though we seem to have missed it here at MusicWeb International (AV2263).

Media Date 
February 23, 2015
Media Source 
Music Web International
Media Location 
Boston, MA
Media 
Media Quote 

A reassuring reminder that some composers are still writing powerful music which combines a modern idiom with an appealing beauty

Media Contact Name 
Brian Wilson

Irving Fine’s Complete Orchestral Music, a vital addition to his discography

Irving Gifford Fine (1914-1962) was an American composer. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Fine studied with Walter Piston at Harvard earning Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. He studied conducting with Serge Koussevitsky and composition with Nadia Boulanger. At the time of his death at age 47 he completed only a handful of works for orchestra, chorus and various chamber ensemble and solo works. But what he lacked in quantity did not lack in quality. The Irving Fine Society maintains a very useful web page which can be found here.

Media Date 
February 15, 2015
Media Source 
New Music Buff
Media Location 
Boston, MA
Media 
Media Quote 

As usual the BMOP under Gil Rose turn in fantastic performances.

Media Contact Name 
Allan Cronin

Gramophone reviews Scott Wheeler: Crazy Weather

A wonderful tensile energy operates on a subliminal aural screen behind the main episodes in Boston-based Scott Wheeler's music; perhaps they are musical particle traces of the dancers' and singers' bodies 'that are the medium for the stage composer's work', as Wheeler modestly describes himself in the booklet-notes. In fact, Wheeler turns out to be a highly effective composer of classical music by virtue of a vivid aural imagination whose ingenious, garrulous products he crafts into absorbing symphonic soundscapes that make the hip Boston Modern Orchestra Project sound great.

Media Date 
February 1, 2015
Media Source 
Gramophone
Media Location 
Boston, MA
Media 
Media Quote 

A wonderful tensile energy operates on a subliminal aural screen behind the main episodes in Wheeler's music.

Media Contact Name 
Laurence Vittes

La Folia reviews Arthur Berger: Words for Music, Perhaps

BMOP expands the Berger discography with chamber music. The three Yeats poems require female voice plus trio of flute, clarinet and cello. Chamber Music and Septet make explicit their numbers. Berger’s notes reveal his struggles to forge an American serial style outside of Stravinsky’s influence. Chamber Music is one of the results of that development, an elegant combination which looks to Webern. Profoundly evident in these lucid works is Berger’s splendid handling of sonority.

Media Date 
January 1, 2015
Media Source 
La Folia
Media Location 
Boston, MA
Media 
Media Quote 

Profoundly evident in these lucid works is Berger’s splendid handling of sonority.

Media Contact Name 
Grant Chu Covell

La Folia reviews Milton Babbitt: All Set

I met Babbitt once. We shook hands as I received an award, one student among many others on a winter afternoon a long time ago. Babbitt was a great raconteur. However, the anecdotes I heard are not suitable for print. He wrote dense articles, and yet his music can have straightforward elegance (Composition for Twelve Instruments) or humor (All Set). Truly, All Set is a snazzy 12-tone piece for jazz ensemble. Were it scored for a Pierrot ensemble it might seem bone dry, and if a jazz combo were provided atonal charts, this wouldn’t be the result.

Media Date 
January 1, 2015
Media Source 
La Folia
Media Location 
Boston, MA
Media 
Media Quote 

This piece was once considered impossible to play; BMOP makes it easy.

Media Contact Name 
Grant Chu Covell

La Folia reviews Jacob Druckman: Lamia

In this program’s balance of modern alongside old, we learn that Druckman knows how to manage foreground and background. Druckman was also alert to his place in history. It instills his music with confidence. In the notes, La Folia contributor Dan Albertson identifies similarities to Lutosławski’s orchestration and language. Dutilleux, another master of transparency across multiple layers, came to mind. That Quickening Pulse provides a feisty concert opener with dissonant fanfares.

Media Date 
January 1, 2015
Media Source 
La Folia
Media Location 
Boston, MA
Media 
Media Quote 

Shelton is excellent in Lamia.

Media Contact Name 
Grant Chu Covell

Music For Writers: Playful Andrew Norman

Imagine the orchestra as this sort of complicated 19th-century futurist machine, all moving parts and cogs and gears, and little people. I find that sort of fascinating. But every now and then, I just want to throw a wrench in and see what will happen.

Andrew Norman is ready to show you — at least through sound — just what happens when he tosses a wrench or two onto the concert stage.

Media Date 
January 21, 2015
Media Source 
Thought Catalog
Media Location 
Boston, MA
Media 
Media Quote 

The first two movements, “levels,” are all but chased around the stage by a triple percussion section, the whole event bounding through time, fresh, invigorating, challenging, fun.

Media Contact Name 
Porter Anderson

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - CD Review