NPR Music
Tom Huizenga
July 24, 2013

Martin Boykan may not be a household name, but judging from the nuanced orchestration and structural integrity of his Symphony for Orchestra, he should at least be better known. The 82-year-old Manhattan-born composer learned his craft under mid-century giants including Aaron Copland, Walter Piston and Paul Hindemith and later taught at Brandeis University. Boykan is fascinated with time. We listen to music sequentially, he says: "And since time passes slowly in music, we are immersed in a world that is richer and more eventful than ordinary life." And so goes this symphony. Boykan packs a lot into short spaces in the opening movement, yet he keeps the orchestration transparent. Colors and textures are in constant flux, but the pace is unrushed. Beginning with a slow rustling of strings and winds, Boykan envisions the movement as a musical dawn — one that opens wide to a kaleidoscope of sonic possibilities. Chalk this concentrated, committed performance up as another winner — and important discovery — from conductor Gil Rose and his Boston Modern Orchestra Project.