WILLIAM BOLCOM (b.1938): Canciones de Lorca for Tenor and Orchestra, Prometheus for Chorus, Piano and Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 11R070
Description: Bolcom has always been ridiculously good at this sort of thing - not so much erasing the boundaries between popular and art music as integrating the two into an elevated form of instantly accessible concert music - and here he does for Andalusian flamenco and other Latin popular idioms the kind of thing he previously did with ragtime and cabaret idioms. Lorca's humorous, passionate, streetwise side - well removed from the bleak, tragic stage works - is celebrated in these lushly orchestrated settings, so authentic sounding as to suggest superb orchestral transcriptions of pre-existing folk material. Incorporating cante jondo, jota, a riotous piece of concert jazz - an amalgam of Gershwin and Le sacre - and a final infectiously exuberant Cuban fantasy, these settings perfectly accompany and amplify Lorca's musicianly lyrics. Prometheus sets Byron's version of the myth, with a demanding concertante piano part carrying much of the dramatic narrative. More modern than the Canciones, though still based in tonality, the work abounds in color, apocalyptic gesture (as befits the players in the drama and the implications of the story, which the composer sees as a metaphor for science's gift of 'fire' in our time), and dramatic power on a grand scale. Spanish-English texts. René Barbera (tenor), Jeffrey Biegel (piano), Pacific Chorale, Pacific Symphony; Carl St. Clair.