LOWELL LIEBERMANN (b.1951): Concerto for Orchestra, Variations on a Theme by Mozart, Nocturne, Revelry.

Catalogue Number: 12O012

Label: Albany

Reference: TROY 1380

Format: CD

Price: $17.98

Description: These pieces showcase Liebermann's cunningly accessible idiom, constructed out of an extraordinary range of compositional techniques, some of fearsome technical rigor, yet managing to present as the bold face of neo-romanticism, beguilingly familiar, even popular. The Concerto sounds very tonal - the language is largely octatonic in a Stravinskyan or Bartókian sense (the opening of the last movement is very Petrushka-esque) - with propulsive uneven rhythms and a good deal of virtuosity required both of individual players and the ensemble as a whole. The piece combines the bold gestures and emotive power of (good) film music with ingenious harmonic and contrapuntal construction. The Variations are a sophisticated 'musical joke' that Mozart would have appreciated; a mock-stately theme from Seraglio is made to jump through a variety of hoops, some leading to unexpected harmonic and stylistic destinations, others merely to accidental-on-purpose 'wrong' notes, the whole culminating in a portentous fugue. The Nocturne is a shadowy, melodic elegy like Shostakovich in somber mood, and Revelry a piece of riotous orchestral high-jinks, coincidentally dodecaphonically organized, not that you'd know it. BBC Symphony Orchestra; Grant Llewellyn.

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