JENNIFER HIGDON (b.1962): Percussion Concerto (Ben Stiers [percussion], STEVE DANYEW (b.1983): Lauda, PAUL DOOLEY (b.1983): Point Blank, SCOTT MCALLISTER (b.1969): Gone, ROY DAVID MAGNUSON (b.1983): Innsmouth, Massachussets - 1927.
Catalogue Number: 01Q065
Description: Dooley's Point Blank was inspired by aspects of Electronica popular music, in which synthesized loops interact with human performers. This is most apparent in the jittery percussion that tends to characterise this genre; otherwise the piece is a high-energy toccata, very tonal and accessible. Danyew's piece is a prelude over a ground bass, followed by a fugue whose subject is a well-known hymn. The piece is a study in dense counterpoint, the harmony and instrumentation rich and sumptuous. Magnuson's piece refers to H.P. Lovecraft's "The Shadow over Innsmouth", which is typical of the author in establishing at length a brooding atmosphere of threatening gloom and mounting terror, prior to any actual action taking place. It is this highly evocative description of the decayed town filled with unearthly sounds and stench that the piece captures, with its booming tide, tolling bells and inarticulate moans. The music would serve very well for a filmed adaptation of the novella. By complete contrast, McAllister's serenely mournful Gone is about a real-life tragedy and its transcendence. The piece is meditative and prayerful, with a steady pulse, gently persistent, calm and sad. Higdon's colorful, extrovert concerto in its wind orchestra version rounds out an appealingly varied program. Illinois State University Wind Symphony; Daniel A. Belongia.