KEVIN WALCZYK (b.1964): Symphony No. 5 “Freedom from Fear - Images from the Shoreline for 2 Sopranos, Jazz Ensemble and Winds, AARON PERRINE (b.1979): In the Open Air, In the Silent Lines, DAVID MASLANKA (1943-2017): Liberation.

Catalogue Number: 04V068

Label: Naxos

Reference: 8.574169

Format: CD

Price: $11.98

Description: Three bold, colorful, tonal and thoroughly accessible works, as the core repertoire of the symphonic wind ensemble is wont to be. Like his impressive 2nd Symphony (06P092), this work of similar dimensions - 40 minutes, in four movements - has an overarching 'theme', in this case 'courage' and 'freedom from fear', which are also translated into literal themes as musical cyphers, present throughout the work. The idiom is a wildly polyglot one, even as compared to the eclectic Second. The first movement introduces the vocal soloists in a mother/son dialogue, simply accompanied, with generously scored interjections from the ensemble. The second movement represents the 'shoreline' images of the subtitle; those of WWII and the segregated ones of the Civil Rights era. The anthem 'We Shall Overcome" plays an important rôle in this movement, which includes electric guitar and drum kit, and involves the ensemble in a combination of big-band jazz, an idiom not far from some episodes of Bernstein's Mass, and some elements of eastern-inflected rock music, alongside the customary rich wind band sound. The 'Lullaby' is the symphony’s slow movement, a sumptuous meditation, carrying over some 'eastern' modality from the previous movement and setting Syrian folk, and Biblical, texts, with a brief big band interludes. The finale blends imagery of Moses crossing the Red Sea with Emma Lazarus' poem on the Statue of Liberty in a powerfully optimistic swell of hope for humankind. Maslanka's hugely impressive work is a setting of the Latin responsory "Libera me" powerfully intoned in plainchant and framed by the powerful momentum of the composer’s trademark style. The Dies irae puts in an appearance - appropriately, as the prayer refers to the Requiem sequence - in an apocalyptic central episode. The Perrine is a gentle, post-minimalist celebration of creativity and individuality, inspired by the Preface to Whitman's 'Leaves of Grass'. Gretchen Pille (soprano), Ashton Rapp (boy soprano), University of Kansas Men’s Chorus, Jazz Ensemble and Wind Ensemble; Paul W. Popiel.


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