<< -- 3 -- Carson P Cooman AMERICAN ACCENTS
The Viola Concerto (1997) is a work of gentler tone than the symphony. Taking the viola's inherently warm lyricism as its starting point, the concerto explores its timbre in four movements. The concerto's opening movement, 'Moving forward gently'
[listen -- track 4, 6:52-8:13],
has aspects of its brooding energy in common with the first movement of the symphony. A cadenza follows before the next orchestral movement, 'Slow Waltz'. The Copland-influenced final movement, 'Flowing', is subdued and brings the work to a reposed conclusion, but not before the beating percussion of the work's opening is recalled.
The final work on the disc is a one-movement overture, American Accents (1984), which is a decidedly up-beat piece, possessing a bounding energy. It is festive and rhythmic, with a jazz-influenced American harmonic language. The crisp, irregular rhythmic texture also owes some influence to Stravinsky's 'neo-classical' compositions
[listen -- track 8, 0:00-1:00].
Overall, this is a very strong disc, and extremely well played by one of America's finest orchestras. Gerard Schwarz (as music director of the SSO) has championed numerous composers throughout his career. Susan Gulkis Assadi plays with a beautifully warm sound in the viola concerto, which fits the nature of the work perfectly.
Stock has said in interviews that he considers his orchestral work to be the core of his output as a composer. It is thus wonderful to have an all-orchestral disc available commercially. Strongly recommended.