JOHN HARBISON (b.1938): Ulysses - Complete Ballet.
Catalogue Number: 04J093
Label: Boston Modern Orchestra Project
Reference: BMOP/sound 1001
Description: This is probably Harbison's most immediately accessible and direct large-scale score, a big, bold, colorful work full of character, employing the composer's customary harmonic language but avoiding complex development in favour of straightforward tableaux that illustrate events in the story in direct, pictorial terms. The composer has spoken of the contrast with Maw's great Odyssey - the other evening-length work on the same subject from our time, and one that he admires - pointing out that whereas the one is a philosophical examination of the journey of the outcast, his own work, by design, is one in which characters do things, and events occur in sequence, without stopping to dwell on their meaning. Splendidly vivid orchestral colour (including the ondes Martenot) and instrumental or thematic leitmotifs render the narrative with exemplary clarity even in the absence of stage action, ad the work as a whole provides much to enjoy. Boston Modern Orchestra Project; Gil Rose.