LIONEL SAINSBURY (b.1958): Time of the Comet, Op. 25, PATRICIA JULIEN (b.19??): Among the Hidden (Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra; Petr Vronsky), CLIVE MUNCASTER (b.19??): Reflective Thought Patterns (Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra; Robert Ian Winstin), J.A. KAWARSKY (b. around 1960): Fastidious Notes for Saxophone and Orchestra (Jonathan Helton [sax], Chicago Arts Orchestra; Javier Mendoza).
Catalogue Number: 02T065
Label: Navona Records
Description: Four appealing and approachable, colorful neo-romantic and thoroughly tonal orchestral works. The 'Time of the Comet' was 1997, when comet Hale-Bopp made a mysterious and awe-inspiring visit to our solar system. Sainsbury's piece alternates optimistic, propulsive music with passages of wonder and reflection. As the discs of his piano music that we've offered before (05Q080, 06P090) and his fine, neo-romantic Violin Concerto (05L004) would suggest, the music abounds in catchy rhythms and infectious positive energy. Muncaster's piece presents a sequence of short sections based in baroque, classical and romantic styles, lively and engaging in their own right, and thematically related. After the work's mid-point, the music 'rewinds', reversing the orderof the sections and ending with a grandly orchestrated recapitulation of the opening section. Julien's Among the Hidden is a darker work than the others here, which, like the Muncaster, refers to other compositional styles of the past (sometimes with teasing references to actual works), but here as a means of 'concealing' the composer's true voice in comforting anonymity. An obsessive three-note piano motif that recurs at several points seems to hint at an unhealthy motivation behind this process of hiding in plain sight. The Kawarsky, with its prominent role for the saxophone (including a substantial cadenza), borrows from various styles of musical Americana (including a section based on the American folk-song “Goodbye Old Paint”). The overall feel of the piece is nostalgic and serene, though it is not without its agitated and dramatic passages.