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Friday, October 4, 2019

George Perle, Serenades, Boston Modern Orchestral Project, Gil Rose

The more time and releases go by the more impressive to me becomes the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), an American composer-New Music oriented series of great excellence and good sense of need to fill out the recent history of the genre and give us much worthy to appreciate.

Director-conductor Gil Rose and the orchestra keep coming up with very timely and impeccably created releases, no less so today with composer George Perle (1915-2009) and his Serenades (BMOP 1067).

My first exposure to the music of Perle came back in a New Music concert in Manhattan in 1972. I have been glad to hear his music ever since. The three Serenades presented on this CD were written between 1962 and 1968 and form a prime Perle for sure.

The first is for viola and chamber orchestra with Wenting Kang doing wonderful things with the solo part. No 3 is for piano and chamber orchestra and Donald Berman gives us power and poetics at the piano helm. No 2 is for eleven players equally.

All have a beautiful unraveling about them, thoroughly High Modern in their attention to advanced  harmonic-melodic tonality at the edge and the inventive levels are as high as the wonder of the orchestration sureness. This was a Master.

In the liners there is a poignant passage where Perle expresses his need for authenticity, as part of a tradition, and that is of the legacy of Modernism and all that has led to it I suppose. You listen to this music and the fine performances and there is no doubt that he is of his world, but originally so as well as anyone. Listen to the long and winding piano run in the penultimate movement of the Third Serenade and you will have no doubt of Perle's centrality to things now. He embodies tradition but he is also a tradition now, someone to respect, emulate, listen to closely.

I do recommend this highly to all Moderns and those who wonder about Modern folks as well. Perle is essential on this one and BMOP give us exemplary performances. Bravo!

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