AUGUSTA READ THOMAS (b.1964): EOS (Goddess of the Dawn) - a Ballet for Orchestra, NICO MUHLY (b.1981): Control (5 Landscapes for Orchestra), ANDREW NORMAN (b.1979): Switch.
Catalogue Number: 04R079
Label: Reference Recordings
Format: SACD hybrid
Description: Light, airy rhythmic vitality and scintillating, luminous colors are recurring trademarks of Thomas' music, and both are displayed to great advantage in the seven movements of EOS, which illustrate the emerging light and life-affirming energy of dawn as depicted in myth. The emerging light, quickening morning air and triumphant passage of the sun across the sky are depicted in a series of tableaux featuring Thomas' incandescent harmony, clear and lucid and based around tonal centers, and her colorful, transparent orchestration. Muhly paints a portrait of the extraordinary forms and colors of the Utah landscape, and humanity's relationship to it, in five impressive neo-romantic essays. The composer's idiom, at least in this context of depicting natural wonders on an epic scale, lies somewhere between John Adams and John Luther Adams, with Muhly's familiar propulsive rhythms recalling the one, and vast, slow-moving organic floes and tectonic masses suggesting the other. Norman's half-hour percussion concerto functions like some huge, hyperkinetic mechanism, constantly threatening to fly out of control as the percussionist triggers events within the orchestra, which fights back by abruptly switching channels between different sound-worlds. The music is exhilarating, accessible - many of the orchestra's gestures sound like fragmentary samples of romantic or minimalist works, too fleeting to identify - but just a little ominous and menacingly uncontrollable. Utah Symphony; Thierry Fischer.