What struck me first was the rhythmic vitality of the music. There are moments of quiescence and lyricism but also a robustly rhythmic dynamism that features interlocking parts and a harmonic-melodic openness that has both neo-classical and modern elements.
"Joker's Wild" for orchestra begins the program with a flair and shows you the rhythmic qualities, exciting and dynamic in a direct sense. There is a hint of Stravinsky in his middle period, an influence that gets integrated in the overall style without the feeling of imitation. Chamber works combine ever-varied instrumentation, flute/piccolo and piano; trumpet, horn and trombone; flute/alto flute and clarinet; english horn and cello; alto saxophone and piano; and solo clarinet. His wind writing is idiomatic and colorful. When a piano part enters into a work the density and rhythmic qualities come to the fore. In the works that do not include a piano the music tends to be a bit more introspective and lyrically modern much of the time, but not exclusively. "Firecracker" for solo clarinet is a dynamic exception.
The program finishes off with the title work, "Fireworks," a ten-minute extravaganza for wind ensemble. It is a rather brilliant piece of music, turbulent and dramatic, orchestrated with real skill and filled with exciting motor-impulse rhythm.
In all we have a convincing program of well-wrought works that show a musical mind of originality and elan. Aleksander Sternfeld-Dunn shows us he is a force to contend with here. I look forward to more!
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