WILLIAM HILL (b.c.1955): The Raven for Chorus and Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 04T070
Label: Colorado Symphony
Description: Hill's large-scale setting of Poe's famous poem is complex and, at around three-quarters of an hour, a fitting tribute to the poem's epic, psychologically layered, unsettling nature. Hill sets the entire text, pulling out all the stops to illustrate in great detail the nuances of the poem's oppressive atmosphere and precisely shaded darkness of mood, that were previously left to the imagination -something that Poe, at his best, was past master at provoking into venturing into places it had better avoided. The music is eclectic and far from simple, but remains accessible and makes a fine and impressive spectacle, with its large orchestra and choir, amplified sub-choir, with organ and extra percussion, all amply employed. The music is very chromatic, with the resources of extended vocal sound effects used for atmosphere, while some dodecaphonic organisation of material is balanced by richly Romantic harmony. The composer makes much use of leitmotifs and transformation of themes to illustrate recurring images and characters in the narrative, and a 'heartbeat' motif occurs throughout to chart the emotional state of the protagonist, while also evoking the stressed/unstressed rhythm of Poe's verse. No texts. Colorado Symphony Chorus, Colorado Symphony; David Lockington.