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Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Miniature Symphonies, Contemporary Examples by Milhaud, Mason, Benton, Nakatani, Scott, The Lowell Chamber Orchestra, Orlando Cela


A reaction to the potential bloat of gigantism and sprawling, lengthy symphonies, we have the counterthrust of the chamber miniature. A timely foray into such realms we find happily in the recent release Miniature Symphonies (Navona NV 6447). The Lowell Chamber Orchestra under conductor Orlando Cela handle the performances with charm and picaresque presence (the latter in terms of an episodic and at times a somewhat wry character).

The symphonies hover around Darius Milhaud as frontier establishing Modern NeoClassical examplar. So we are happily treated to some five refreshingly bittersweet, puckish and edgy Milhaud miniatures, "Symphonie de Chambre Nos, 1-5," each in three movements, each a little gem. They are interleavened and spelled by subsequent endeavors in the miniature symphonic fold, from the explicit Milhaud hommage of Quinn Mason's "Petite Symphonie de Chambre Contemporaine (apres Milhaud)" and on to Brittney Benton's "The Sentinel," Yoko Nakatani's "La Giclee" (the only work here in one, not in three movements), and finally on to Kevin Scott's "Second Little Symphony."

The end result is a nicely differentiated collection of miniatures that say their say succinctly and disarmingly, well played and worth hearing and enjoying. A refreshing program, this.

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