Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Broer, Coble, Yip, Turbulent Sky, Contemporary Works for Orchestra

If you crave something from the ever-evolving, new modern-high modern repertoire of the present, you might consider the recent anthology Turbulent Sky: Contemporary Works for Orchestra (Navona 6012).

On it we are treated to three worthwhile compositions by composers not yet household names: "Symphony for String Orchestra" by Fred Broer, "Zephyr" by William Coble, and "The Luminous Mystery" by Stephen Yip. The Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra under Petr Vronsky give us the premiere recorded performances here, and they do the music justice.

The Broer work is the longest of the three with a tripartite movement sequence that fills out the work with over 30 minutes of expressionist modernism of an often intricate and tempestuous sort. It most exemplifies the turbulence of the album's title. The strings express the inventively lucid tone painting of a Broer with a clear idea of what he envisions from the strings and beautifully realizes.

William Coble's somewhat brief "Zephyr" has a sort of post-Stravinsky orchestrational brilliance with great movement and a vocalise part well realized by soprano Hailey Fuqua. The music is rather wondrously mobile, multi-layered and colorful, meant to suggest clouds rolling together to create a sudden storm.

Stephen Yip's "The Luminous Mystery" amasses full orchestral forces and the solo violin of Vit Muzik to express Catholic mysticism. The violin part is vibrantly present to put the work into a concerted mode. It is a finely crafted, brilliantly contemporary outing that punctuates the anthology most fittingly.

Turbulent Sky demonstrates three contrasting approaches to the orchestra, All three revel in the advanced idiom of high modernism and show us three important voices in the new music today. I found it all most exhilarating. Highly recommended.

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