KENJI BUNCH (b.1973): Aspects of an Elephant, SEAN SHEPHERD (b.1979): Magiya, CHRISTOPHER ROUSE (b.1949): Supplica, SEBASTIAN CURRIER (b.1959): Microsymph, SAMUEL BARBER (1910-1981): Souvenirs.

Catalogue Number: 09U071

Label: PentaTone

Reference: PTC5186727

Format: SACD hybrid

Price: $19.98

Description: An appealing cross-section of the tonal, approachable end of the spectrum of orchestral music written in the USA in recent years (and 1952). Shepherd's high-spirited overture pays tribute to the many Russian specimens of the genre, especially those with magical overtones (Glinka, Mussorgsky, Liadov, Rimsky et al). Currier's Microsymph is a clever exercise in compressing the conventions of a full-scale symphony into a little over 10 minutes. Much of it is tongue in cheek - a Haydnesque 'Minute Waltz' complete with ticking clock, or metronome; a spoof of Beethoven scherzi 'Nanoscherzo' and a tiny finale that 'cyclically' revisits material from earlier. But the 5-minute slow movement is unexpectedly solemn and imposing, with a real sense of tragic gravitas. Rouse's piece departs from the propulsive, extrovert energy of many of his works; Supplica is mostly elegiac and hushed in mood, scored for strings, with more than a passing resemblance to Barber's Adagio. A brief climax brings in a few looming brass chords, and then the sombre mood sets in again, and only in the final few minutes does a real tutti occur, with a surging, Sibelian feel. Bunch illustrates the fable of the men concluding the nature of an elephant based on too little information, in an entertaining 'concerto for orchestra' featuring different orchestral groups (Young Person's Guide or Carnival of the Animals style) in depictions of the elephant as a spear, a tree, a snake, etc. until a clever finale brings all the material together as the beast's full stature and form is revealed. Oregon Symphony; Carlos Kalmar.


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