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New music for orchestra -
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'... a hypnotically appealing experience.'

New music for orchestra. Music from Six Continents, 1994 Series. © 1994 Vienna Modern Masters

The enterprise of this non profit making recording company has provided us with much orchestral and choral music over the past two decades or so that could not otherwise have been made available in the USA and Europe and featured many composers who, in their own countries, are highly regarded and well rewarded for their work. VMM has made sure that at least one major work by a composer unfamiliar to many of us can be presented to an international public interested in discovering something new and curious in an exploration of musical landscapes little known to outsider nationals. The discoveries are rarely of gold, but often intriguing.

Now ten years old, the group of orchestral works on this disc are for the most part inoffensive and uncomplicated. Jack Gallagher is a New Yorker, born 1947, and his Symphony in One Movement: Threnody is the most substantial of the new pieces, lasting just over thirty minutes, and this seems to be its disadvantage, for its material does not sound as if it is made for such a grand architectural frame. The composer has made a kind of 'concerto for orchestra' and features the harp and clarinet in its later stages as concertante instruments. It is about loss and loneliness, longing and despair, and although its second half intends to be an expression of optimism, it rarely succeeds in pulling itself away from melancholy -- fine for a few minutes but heavy for a half hour. But it ends well [listen -- track 1, 29:06-29:59].

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Copyright © 4 February 2004 Patric Standford, Wakefield UK


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