JOAN TOWER (b.1938): Violin Concerto, Stroke, Chamber Dance.
Catalogue Number: 05Q013
Description: A powerful and emotionally charged symphonic poem dedicated to the composer's brother, who had recently suffered a debilitating stroke, the work is classic Tower, full of propulsive energy, a rich neo-romantic vocabulary and colorful orchestration with especial emphasis on the percussion. After a massive, static motif emblematic of the immobilizing attack, pounding fury alternates with melancholy before arriving at a sense of gentle resignation and the steady pulse of a heart still beating. The single-span concerto in the traditional subdivisions (with two duet-cadenzas in memory of the original soloist's violinist brother) is vigorous and energetic, rhythmically electrifying due in no small part to the composer's characteristic incessant changes of meter, though with a beguiling strain of lyricism throughout - even in the combative passages of the outer movements - boldly and opulently orchestrated. Chamber Dance, written for the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, requires chamber-music rhythmic alacrity, but is otherwise a full-scale, bold orchestral essay full of rhythmic excitement and thrust in tutti passages, with a virtuoso concerto for orchestra-like treatment of solo and ensemble textures. Cho-Liang Lin (violin), Nashville Symphony; Giancarlo Guerrero.