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Friday, January 9, 2015

Jack Gallagher, Symphony No. 2 "Ascendant," London Symphony Orchestra, JoAnn Falletta

Jack Gallagher steadily is becoming an American composition phenom. Not by storming the gates of the inner sanctum, but by continuing to write works of well-crafted, inspired modern symphonic music. I last reviewed an album of his, Orchestral Music, April 7, 2011 on the Gapplegate Music Blog (before the blog you are reading became the conduit for classical music). JoAnn Falletta and the London Symphony Orchestra gave us exciting renditions of good works. They return today for a new installment of Jack Gallagher's music, including his Symphony No. 2 "Ascendant" (Naxos 8.559768), written between 2010 and 2013.

The new disk if anything shows an even more masterful Gallagher, tackling a long-form symphony with good ideas, orchestrational brilliance, and a cohesive sequencing worthy of your attentive ear. There is a long-lined melodic strain to the music that reminds ever so slightly of Harris at his best. There is pacing drama, repose at various points and some vivid orchestral fireworks too, when that is called for.

We get as bonus the shorter work "Quiet Reflections" (1996). As the title suggests we are treated to a beautifully mysterious meditative calm, tender lyricism without sentimentality and perhaps a quietly searching quality. It is a welcome addition.

As before JoAnn Falletta and the London Symphony are well-disposed toward the works. They give us expressive, enthusiastic and well-balanced readings of both pieces. Their hearts and minds are open to the music and they respond with disciplined elan. Falletta excels with this sort of thing, certainly!

This is an ideal place to begin with Jack Gallagher if you haven't previously experienced his music. It is very worth your attention in any case.

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