DANIEL ASIA (b.1953): Symphony No. 5 for Tenor, Baritone, Chorus and Orchestra (Robert Swenson [tenor], Chris Pedro Trakas [baritone], New Czech Song, Pilsen Philharmonic; Koji Kawamoto), Nonet for Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon and Horn (Czech Nonet).
Catalogue Number: 01N074
Reference: DCD 579
Description: Asia's fifth symphony is a symphonic song-cycle, examining many facets of Judaism and the Jewish identity and experience, setting poems by Yehuda Amichai and Paul Pines alongside psalms and prayers. Both texts and music express a sense of questioning and doubt, contrasted with humor on the one hand and faith on the other. The composer's idiom is tonal and very approachable; an apt comparison in both mood and vocabulary would be Bernstein's more 'serious' orchestral works - the Kaddish and Age of Anxiety symphonies for instance; harmonically rich and sometimes ambiguous, and always rhythmically vital, with excursions into contemplative depth of feeling. The concise Nonet is cast in similar musical language, with something of the clear precision of neoclassical Stravinsky.