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Thursday, May 11, 2023

Symphonic Chronicles. Vol. 1, London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Miran Vaupotic, David Watkin


What is on tap today is some six symphonic works by some six new, new music composers in a compendium dubbed Symphonic Chronicles, Volume One (Navona NV6519).   Through the duration conductors Miran Vaupotic and David Watkin alternately, ably and poetically direct the London Symphony Orchestra and Royal Scottish National Orchestra in a series of tonal works with a narrative and lucidly descriptive way about them. Like perhaps Vaughan Williams in early days you listen and not so much ask yourself if  this is Modern so much as whether it communicates some special musical contents to us, is the music creating a world we want to experience and how does it do that? 

I think it does do that throughout. The music holds its own in varied and vital ways, with a definite personal voice on the part of each composer. Perhaps the most weighty and pronoiunced part of the album is Steve Law's nicely poised Piano Concerto. The pianism of the work is most pronounced and contemporary without necessarily  being atonal or avant. It reflects the expressive places the piano has occupied in recent years, in our sometimes  vaguely postmodern era, The orchestra and piano interact in memorable ways that make you glad to get to know the work. It is as Jazzy on the edges as it is Modern Classical and all the better for that. It like much of these works is devoted to a kind of lyrical management of light, an  exploration of sonic personal contours. Each work sets its own agenda and proceeds to realize it on its own terms, So we get some real chestnuts with five more works by the likes of Deborah Kavasch, John Wineglass, Barbara Jazwinski, Nan Avant and Simon Andrews. These may be new names to me but their works show a maturity and originality of purpose that is most heartening to get to know.

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