Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Ross Harris, Symphony No. 5, Violin Concerto
Harris adroitly negotiates the terrain between tonality and atonality in both works. The Violin Concerto (2010) gives the soloist lyrical-mysterioso passages alternating with a bracing turbulence and the orchestra follows and expands the moods in ways that remind favorably of Berg's Concerto and its depth without in anyway mimicking it.
The Symphony No. 5 (2013) sets three poems of Panni Palasti that recall her immersion in wartime Budapest during the Nazi siege there during WWII. Opening and closing adagios of austerely striking beauty frame directly communicating settings of the poems, which in turn are set off by two vividly depictive scherzos that portray wartime violence and horror.
Harris is a composer of substantial orchestral nuance and freshly thematic substance. The two works paired in this release enjoy dramatically moving and crisp readings that set a high benchmark.
Harris is a modernist of real stature! Highly recommended.