<< -- 3 -- Carson P Cooman WONDERFUL EXUBERANCE
Wind Symphony No 1 is a three movement work which uses the wind ensemble in distinctly colorful ways. This is Galbraith's longest and most extended work for wind orchestra and shows her skill with large ensemble color and clarity. The energy and rhythmic momentum of the work is continuous and the music is structured in peaks and surges which build up and then die down again [listen -- track 7, 0:00-1:02]. Of special note is the excellent Carnegie Mellon Wind Ensemble -- a student ensemble which plays the work like true professionals.
The high point of the disc is the brilliant Piano Sonata No 1, also in three movements. The opening movement is titled Fugue but is one of the most appealing and life-affirming fugues that this reviewer has ever heard. There is nothing remotely academic about this movement, which is full of dancing rhythms. The second movement of the work, Religioso, is truly gorgeous. It begins with a very simple monodic chant that builds slowly to a massive edifice of bell-like sounds -- huge washes of thick chords ringing out transformations of that opening motive. The music dies down again to contemplation on the monodic idea. Religioso is an extremely apt character marking for this movement as hearing it is truly a spiritual experience. (Galbraith is also an active church musician.) The final movement of the sonata, Allegro, brings the piece to an upbeat close. It is a toccata with minimalist elements -- the momentum never stops until the final hammered chord [listen -- track 10, 0:00-1:00]
The final work on the disc is Dos Danzas Latinas, an eloquent wind octet in two movements -- Habanera and Samba. Both movements are both light in feel and yet sophisticated in construction. A fitting conclusion to the disc that leaves one wanting to dance.
One of the dominant impressions this fine disc makes is that the only people who must be having more fun with this music than the listener are the performers!
This music (and recording) are strongly recommended. We can only hope that a recording of Galbraith's orchestral works will be a future project.