Thursday, August 13, 2015
Oregon Symphony explores American sonic-scape in latest CD release
The Piston is followed by Antheil’s “A Jazz Symphony,” which is a short and urgent that blasts a scattershot of jazz and ragtimey riffs across the landscape. It begins with a nod south of the border before it steams into wilder spaces. Loud and brassy sections feature the snarly trumpet of Jeffrey Work, and the energetic, beep-beepy horns, trombones and what have you that go lickety split in a chase scene. The music transitions through a ragtime piano passage before breaking into a frenetic mayhem and then somehow reforming itself into a grand, romantic, sweeping melody that could have graced the silver screen.
The grandest piece on the album is Copland’s Symphony No. 3. The orchestra doesn’t just play this monumental piece, it sings it with conviction. There are bombastic statements, serene passages, searching sections, lovely melodic phrases, and the “Fanfare for the Common Man,” which kind of sneaks up on you when you least expect it. Overall, the orchestra create a feeling of triumph and glow and the final explosive note is a ka-pow that slams it all together.
In addition to the musicians and Kalmar, kudos are in order for recording engineers John Newton and Blanton Alspaugh their work on this superb album. Maybe there will be more recordings by the Oregon Symphony of American free-range music in the near future. Let’s hope so.