Reviews ::::: Schirmer News Fall 2009
8th September 2009
The Ghosts of Versailles
"...one is mesmerized by the seamlessness of the movement along the surface of the strip. And why is that? Because composer John Corigliano and playwright William T. Hoffman, and, apparently,
Photo credit: Ken Howard 2009
Opera Theatre of St. Louis production of The Ghosts of Versailles June 2009 everyone involved in the St. Louis production embraced risk and achieved the grand synthesis, the vast, complex, thrilling congregation of light and shadow, the sounds and silences the stillnesses and the movement, the music, the set and costumes and props. "
The St. Louis Beacon, 6/18/09
" This has been a very exciting week for everyone at theEastern Music Festival. For the first time in the Festival's forty-seven seasons, a composer-in-residence has been chosen. Bright Sheng (Shanghai, China, 1955) is one of the most exciting and prominent of contemporary composers...The superb soloist, Les Roettges brought a wide and unsuspected palette of color from the piccolo's middle and lower range. He brought out all the expressive possibilities of the composer's gorgeous flute writing in the last movement. He played with focused intonation and refined tone...The all student orchestra gave Sheng everything he asked for, playing with lock step ensemble, moving as one for every shift in dynamics or tempo. The strings were rich and warm and the vast percussion section had a field day, whether in a huge, relentless forte, or the haunting sound of distant bells at the end."
Classical Voice of North Carolina, 7/16/09
Aaron Jay Kernis
Symphony of Meditations (Symphony No. 3)
"Kernis has constructed a major new symphony that gives notice to everyone that the form is not dead. The musical language is lyrical and at times soaring, reaching toward something holy. Other times there is fragility. Throughout there is never any doubt that the “Symphony of Meditations” is nothing less than a serious and worthy composition."
"e;Kernis encompasses the Mahler strategy of symphonic expressionism...in which form follows emotional-dramatic function, as well an indigenous tradition rooted in the coloristic eccentricities of maverick American composers. Much of Symphony of Meditations feels like a summa of what the composer has gleaned thus far in his career. At the same time, it's fascinating to see how far Kernis has traveled since the minimalist currents of his Symphony No. 1 from 1989 (Symphony in Waves).
Kernis clearly loves painting with the orchestral-choral canvas, and the imaginative use of his resources is much in evidence. Ominous drum thunderings quickly sketch a sonic image before the solo baritone (the Everyman of Kernis's text selections, who also seems to function as a kind of self-portrait) sings of being "hollowed and shaken out — a ravaged vine," while elsewhere strings divide into the thick harmonies of his "celestial" music, forming a backdrop for the oboe’s exquisitely lyrical phrasing. A solo cello line becomes a kind of cantorial alter ago to the baritone and provides structural markers, and Kernis — who knows how to make his music truly resonate — pits high-decibel dissonances against equally shattering silences."
Symphony of Meditations (Symphony No. 3)
"The audience spent the intermission buzzing about the next work on the program, Yehudi Wyner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Piano Concerto (Chiavi in mano) performed by Festival Artistic Director Robert Levin. Immediately engaging and inventive with such variety of tonal colors, one can see what this composition has been so well received. The piano and orchestra remain in constant dialogue creating melodic fragments and the rare extended line with colors that evoke both the late Romantic excess and the refracted expression of modernists from Stravinsky to Messiaen. Tonality seemed to be treated somewhat differently, almost casually in a typical American or jazzy way. Thus it is not surprising that thoughts of George Gershwin kept coming to mind. Wyner has a unique and valuable sonic world and he shares it with a sense of humble humor."
Miami Herald-Tribune, 6/21/09
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