The American composer Lewis Spratlan, born in 1940, gained wide attention in 2000 when a concert version of Act II of his opera “Life Is a Dream,” which was completed in 1978 but had never been staged, won the Pulitzer Prize for Music. This welcome new recording from the impressive Boston Modern Orchestra Project offers three ingeniously written and distinctive Spratlan works. “A Summer’s Day” (2008) uses a simple, dreamy Celtic tune at the start as a jumping-off place for an elusive, complex suite that ruminates on the tensions below the surface of an inviting day. In his Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra (2006), Mr. Spratlan finds a gripping, fresh approach to what might seem an awkward classical music genre; the music evolves from mystical musings to raw, jazzy vehemence. “Apollo and Daphne Variations” is like a Spratlan version of a Schumann suite, with alternating episodes of whimsy, frenzy and innocence.
The New York Times
June 6, 2014