Scoredaddy reviews Lukas Foss: The Prairie

The German-born, American composer Lukas Foss passed away several weeks ago after a long and distinguished career. Here is a recent recording of WWII-era work that is accessible yet complex, a delightful piece that truly deserves this high quality digital recording. I am glad to be back: enjoy.

Media Date 
March 9, 2009
Media Source 
Scoredaddy
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Media Quote 

Foss's elegant uncluttered style is the ideal foil to Sandburg's direct address to his audience; the result is a wholly convincing amalgam of refinement and rough-hewn nobility.

Music Web International reviews Eric Sawyer: Our American Cousin

Just in time for the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln comes this ambitious opera from American composer Eric Sawyer and librettist John Shoptaw. This is courtesy of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, an exciting program of releases focusing on modern American music.

Media Date 
March 1, 2009
Media Source 
Music Web International
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Everyone involved is to be commended for daring to take on something this grand, something with this much meaning, this much bittersweet food for thought.

Media Contact Name 
Mark Sebastian Jordan

ClassicalCDReview reviews Eric Sawyer: Our American Cousin

Don’t expect the Tom Taylor comedy Lincoln attended the night he got shot. The opera tells the story of the Lincoln assassination seen through the viewpoints mainly of the actors in Ford’s Theater. The effect comes close to what it would be like if Hamlet were told by the company of players. One notes a lot of talk about the Founding Fathers these days, and other than the cynical manipulations of those figures and their thought according to whatever party line, it probably goes through and over most people’s heads.

Media Date 
October 1, 2008
Media Source 
ClassicalCDReview
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Gil Rose and his orchestra do well with what they get.

Media Contact Name 
S.G.S.

American Record Guide reviews Eric Sawyer: Our American Cousin

A glance at the above cast list might prove to be confusing. Here real people are juxtaposed with characters from a play. What kind of opera is this? A finely crafted, cleverly inventive one. Librettist John Shoptaw has combined a play (Our American Cousin by Tom Taylor, 1851) and real history (the assassination of President Lincoln, April 14, 1865). The assassination is told from the perspective of the actors performing the play at Ford’s Theater in Washington. Backstage and audience realities alternate with (decidedly unfunny and rather too many) scenes from the play.

Media Date 
November 1, 2008
Media Source 
American Record Guide
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Media Quote 

What kind of opera is this? A finely crafted, cleverly inventive one.

Media Contact Name 
Charles H. Parsons

AllMusic reviews Charles Fussell: Wilde

New England composer Charles Fussell has specialized largely in symphonic and chamber music that features voices, and he writes for the voice comfortably and idiomatically. He has an authentic gift for text setting, and his vocal lines are unabashedly lyrical and expressive. Idiomatically, Fussell’s music is eclectic, incorporating folk song as easily as serial techniques. His Wilde, symphony for baritone and orchestra, was conceived as a sketch for an opera about the British author, with a text by Will Graham.

Media Date 
February 1, 2009
Media Source 
AllMusic
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Media Quote 

Gil Rose leads BMOP in evocative, committed performances.

Media Contact Name 
Stephen Eddins

Grammy nods for local favorites

Though the Grammy Awards have never held quite the same cachet in classical music as they do in pop, they still carry a good deal of weight, especially for listeners seeking to navigate a bewildering array of new compositional voices and a thicket of recordings of standard repertoire. And this year’s nominations in classical categories, announced last week, include three with especially strong local connections.

Media Date 
December 19, 2008
Media Source 
The Boston Globe
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Musically and vocally beautiful; every word was clear; and everything was shaped by a lively dramatic imagination and deep human understanding.

Media Contact Name 
David Weininger
Media Contact Title 
Globe Correspondent

La Folia reviews Charles Fussell: Wilde

Appearing in the outer movements, Slyvan’s charisma enables Fussell’s Wilde to soar. The work sets selections from Wilde’s letters to Lord Alfred Douglas that reflect on the joys of fatherhood and his despondency after his trial and incarceration. Fussell folds in an artful Victorianesque tune, its temperament bending to suit the mood. The curtain raiser, High Bridge Prelude (alternately called High Bridge, Portrait of Hart Crane) is taken from a larger work commemorating Hart Crane.

Media Date 
January 1, 2009
Media Source 
La Folia
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Media Quote 

Appearing in the outer movements, Slyvan's charisma enables Fussell's Wilde to soar.

American Record Guide reviews Charles Fussell: Wilde

Charles Fussell (b. 1938) resume includes studies at Eastman with Bernard Rogers, in Berlin with Boris Blacher, a long stint as Virgil Thomson’s “assistant,” and a variety of posts in the Boston area (including the Boston University faculty). The two pieces in this collection are outgrowths of planned operatic projects, evidently not yet brought to fruition. High Bridge is meant to be a study for an opera based on the life of Hart Crane.

Media Date 
January 1, 2009
Media Source 
American Record Guide
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Media Quote 

As always, Gil Rose's group plays beautifully.

Media Contact Name 
Allen Gimbel

ClassicalCDReview reviews Charles Fussell: Wilde

Nice. Charles Fussell has established his career in New England. He studied at Eastman with Thomas Canning and Bernard Rogers but has also worked with Boris Blacher and Virgil Thomson. His musical orientation is largely tonal (although structural elements of serialism hover at the edges), with no fear of dissonance.

Media Date 
December 1, 2008
Media Source 
ClassicalCDReview
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Media Quote 

Gil Rose and his BMOP players make handsome work of both scores.

Media Contact Name 
S.G.S.

MusicWeb International reviews Gunther Schuller: Journey Into Jazz

The Variants for Jazz Quartet and Orchestra prove the point that jazz and straight music don’t mix!

Media Date 
February 1, 2009
Media Source 
MusicWeb International
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Media Quote 

Schuller is to be congratulated on his Journey Into Jazz piece, which is very perceptive and captivating.

Media Contact Name 
Don Mather

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