Friday, May 5, 2017

Passage, Contemporary Works for Orchestra, Cervetti, Morris, Wishart, Crozier

We are in the midst of a music resurgence, though the economy of music making may have dropped to its lowest ebb in centuries. Navona and the Parma Group in general have acted heroically in the years past to make available many works in new music, often enough by composers who might otherwise be less familiar to us. Another worthwhile offering can be had on the anthology Passage, Contemporary Works for Orchestra (Navona NV6094).

There are four composers and four corresponding works represented on the album. Each as the title suggests brings you to a different place, makes a transition from one state to another, and explores a worthwhile terrain along the way.

Sergio Cervetti and his "Concerto for Trumpet, Strings, and Timpani" starts off the program with stirring trumpet lines that burst forth and when conjoined with the orchestral-timpani lines convey a clarion, soul stirring call to action.

Craig Madden Morris follows with "A Child's Day," evoking in three movements a great contrast from the opening work. "Morning Smiles," "Playtime," and "Sweet Dreams" each bring us vivid orchestral tapestries that show a child's tender ability to experience all as if anew in every day. This is charming music, immediately communicative but not in any simplistic manner. It nearly enters sentimental turf but stops just short, happily.

Next up is Betty R. Wishart and her "Concertante No. 1: Journey Into the Unknown" It is music of ponderous mystery, bounding across our listening space with great grace yet equal significance.

Daniel Crozier's "Ballade: A Tale After the Brothers Grimm" has a narrative quality no doubt meant to be descriptive, stating in abstract musical terms what at some point was a cluster of word meanings. Crozier's eloquent musical discourse unveils a complex mood of shifting orchestral colors and multi-line unfoldings.

So that is my run-down of the music. It takes you as promised on a journey that is both weighty and pleasurable, giving you four works well played and equally well composed.

An excellent listen!

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