NAN SCHWARTZ (b.19??): Aspirations, Perspectives, Romanza, Angels Among Us (Synchron Stage Orchestra [Vienna]), BRENTON BROADSTOCK (b.1952): Made in Heaven - Concerto for Orchestra (Bratislava Studio Symphony Orchestra).
Catalogue Number: 04T068
Label: Divine Art
Reference: dda 25165
Description: These highly approachable, thoroughly tonal works make up a most appealing programme. The conductor offers a spirited defence of their credentials in the booklet, though it is not clear by whom they were under attack. Both composers, in rather different ways, have been influenced by jazz, and both have written works with some 'crossover' appeal, but there is no suggestion that these are anything but finely crafted concert works, enjoyable by anyone with a taste for lush neo-romanticism. Schwartz is a multiply-awarded film composer and arranger for big names in jazz, who writes in her program note about her affinity for jazz and her 'classical' listening tastes - harmonic sophistication and soaring melodies. Like most successful film composers, she does 'soaring melodies' rather well, and both Aspirations and Perspectives emerge as skillful examples of romanticism-influenced high-quality film music suites in the form of tone poems which give way to discrete episodes of actual jazz, with jazz soloists, and then resume their concert music style. Angels Among Us has a concertante trumpet part with jazz inflections, but unlike the other two large works its concert style is influenced by John Adams-like post-minimalism. The bittersweet little Romanza was written to feature the solo violin of the concertmaster of the orchestra here, and was written for this recording. We encountered Broadstock as a full-blooded neo-romantic a decade ago on a now-unavailable ABC disc. This work is a four-movement tribute to the iconic, star-studded 1958 jazz album "Kind of Blue". Without quotation it borrows from jazz harmonies, blues motifs and flamenco in a sumptuous, jazz-infused piece of concert music. Kevin Purcell (conductor).