Alice isn’t the only one who finds herself immersed in enchanting and wild escapades in David Del Tredici’s Child Alice. So do a soprano and especially an orchestra, who engage in glittering, bizarre and clamorous episodes that might prompt Mahler and Strauss to sit up and take notice. The Boston Modern Orchestra Project’s superlative recording of this massive work – six movements and more than two hours of music – certifies the piece’s status as sonic wonderland.
Paul Moravec’s ambitious The Blizzard Voices chronicles a snowstorm that suddenly struck across the upper Midwest in 1888 and killed hundreds, including a large number of children returning home from school. It is a secular oratorio, the third of the composer’s ‘American Historical’ series of large-scale choral works, and brings an impressive battery of musical resources to the task.
David Del Tredici's name is closely associated with Lewis Carroll’s. Del Tredici’s nine major Alice in Wonderland works, written between 1968 and 1996, were paradoxically daring for their use of tonality during an era of serialist snobbery. After studies at Princeton in twelve-tone composition, Del Tredici slowly moved toward his trademark neo-Romantic style, which he felt was better suited to the Victorian nonsense texts of his favorite author. Child Alice, a 1980 Pulitzer winner, marks the apotheosis of this development.
The three works by Peter Child on this new release demonstrate the MIT composer’s remarkable stylistic diversity. Billed as a concert overture, “Jubal” packs the material of a four-movement symphony into a 15-minute span, filled with whirlwind motivic development, dense harmonies, and orchestra writing of Mahlerian exuberance.
Jeremy Gill’s music has a stylistic complexity and dramatic richness that rewards attentive listening. Jeremy Gill: Before the Wresting Tides, a trio of works by Gill for solo instrument and orchestra, performed by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and Gil Rose, displays an especially broad range of mood and energy.
The next time you see a magpie in the sky, I hope you'll remember Four Saints in Three Acts.
That there are a prologue and four acts, and 18 saints — maybe 19, depending on how you count — needn't detain us.
What we have here is a collaboration between an aesthete Southern Baptist out of Kansas City and an American writer living in Paris whose works people talked about and no one understood.
In 2016, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, conducted by Gil Rose, performed Four Saints in Three Acts, producing a terrific recording. The text and music are addictive, as I'm sure Thomson intended them to be. (Find the recording on Amazon and ArkivMusic.)
The deep, milky gongs of Lou Harrison’s American gamelan slowly chime as a violin soars among and above in tender elegy, singing just for you. Then light, lucid bell-like sounds enter, making this musical sky more and more densely starry, in an expansive yet deeply intimate meeting of cultural traditions that I find more moving by the day.
This album was my introduction to the music of Peter Child. Like Lindberg’s works, Child’s music is multi-faceted and adaptable to whatever idea is at hand. The wild and exuberant Jubal is essentially a symphony-concerto for orchestra,
compressed into one 15-minute movement.
Once again, my list includes a release from the Boston Modern Orchestra Project’s ongoing and indispensable series of recordings. I’ve long enjoyed Peter Child’s excellent music and have reviewed a past album of his chamber music. This release of his orchestral works is anchored by a particularly strong piece, Shanti, which gives the album its title.
This album was my introduction to the music of Peter Child. Like Lindberg’s works, Child’s music is multi-faceted and adaptable to whatever idea is at hand. The wild and exuberant Jubal is essentially a symphony-concerto for orchestra, compressed into one 15-minute movement. Adirondack Voices consists of settings of folk songs that were brought to America from UK and spread through Adirondack logging communities. These aren’t simply transcriptions: the textual content of each song informsthe musical content.