MICHAEL S. HORWOOD (b.1947): Symphony No. 1, National Park Suite, Amusement Park Suite, Intravariations for Piano and Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 08J013
Reference: TROY 943
Description: The two extended suites are in the tradition of, say, Grofé's similar sequences of miniature tone poems although Horwood uses a more extended range of compositional techniques (while remaining broadly tonal, there are no "tunes" to be had). The National Park suite (1990) deals with three Canadian and two American parks (Bryce Canyon and Yellowstone are the fast, scherzo-like ones). A strong sense of atmosphere is created in music which is powerful and gripping listened to by itself and which yet would, if used as a soundtrack to a film of these parklands, would probably be perfectly unobtrusive. The Amusement Park suite (1986) is shorter, still five movements: "Sky Ride", "Log Flume", "Carousel", "Dark Ride" and "Roller Coaster" give you a good idea of the fun to be had here with the last-listed a perpetual motion etude in the tradition of Iron Foundry and Pacific 231. The "serious" works are a 1984 symphony in three movements for a classical-sized orchestra which is in a bracing neo-classical style (which yet seems to have more meat and muscle than that appellation might suggest), while the 1997 Intravariations are a 20-minute set of nine variations on a theme in a style which pays tribute to virtuosic Romanticism. Joseph Kubera (piano), Sinfonia Varsovia; Ian Hobson.