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Schwantner: Chasing Light...

6 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 28, 2011
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Schwantner: Chasing Light... + Gallagher: Orchestral Music - Diversions Overture; Berceuse; Sinfonietta; Symphony in One Movement; Threnody + Boyer: Symphony No.1; Silver Fanfare; Festivities; Three Olympians; Celebration Overture
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Joseph Schwantner's Chasing Light is part of Ford Made in America, a partnership program of the
League of American Orchestras and Meet The Composer. Ford Made in America is made possible by
Ford Motor Company Fund. Major support is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, with
additional funding from The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts and
The Amphion Foundation. Recorded at Ben's Studio (formerly RCA Studio A) in Nashville on June 6th, 2010.

Review

54th Annual Grammy Award Winner, Best Classical Instrumental Solo --National Association of Recording Arts & Sciences

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
  • Sample this album Title - Artist (Sample)
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30
5:36
2
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11:22
Album Only
3
30
10:51
Album Only
4
30
20:13
Album Only
5
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4:45
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5:01
7
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4:59
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4:52

Product Details

  • Orchestra: Nashville Symphony
  • Conductor: Giancarlo Guerrero
  • Composer: Joseph Schwantner
  • Audio CD (June 28, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos American Classics
  • ASIN: B004YP3TU0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #175,075 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Digital Chips on July 27, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Two of these things belong together (but the third one's fine, too). That's a capsule summary of my reaction to this new recording. Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Joseph Schwantner has been fascinated by light, and two of the works on this CD were directly inspired by it.

"Morning's Embrace," according to the composer, "draws its spirit and energy from... intensely vibrant early morning sunrises." Schwantner's wide-open melodies and spare orchestration seem almost Coplandesque at time, which is not a bad thing at all. It's a warm, inviting work, fulfilling the promise of the title.

"Chasing Light" is another dawn-inspired work. In this case, Schwantner creates a tone poem describing the play of morning sunlight through a stand of trees. But the hammering tympani that start the piece let you know this won't be a quiet contemplation of nature. This sun's coming up like thunder. Schwantner's music simultaneously shimmers and pushes forward, as inexorably as the rising sun. The dramatic nature of this composition makes it seem almost like a soundtrack for an epic film.

While the "Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra" has nothing to do with light, it has everything to do with Schwantner's affinity for percussion. Commissioned by Christopher Lamb (who performs in this recording), this a brawny, full-blooded work that celebrates the musicality in all things struck. The first part sets the tone with various drums sounding out the melody that the orchestra picks up. The lyrical middle section is primarily for vibraphone and various tuned percussive instruments that create a haunting, and contemplative elegiac mood. The finale is as rhythmic and percussive as the first part -- only more so.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dean Frey on August 19, 2011
Format: Audio CD
The American composer Joseph Schwantner has been called a "gifted orchestral colorist". That might be considered faint praise, with an implication of superficiality. But I don't believe that true mastery of orchestral colour can be achieved without delicacy, depth and drive. I'd rather think of the great masters of orchestral color - Debussy or Villa-Lobos, for example - as being colorists in the same sense that Titian was a great colorist of painting. That's raising the bar pretty high, of course, and the melodic, harmonic and rhythmic elements of the music need at least to be along for the ride (as they always are for Debussy, and usually are for Villa-Lobos).

Judged even by these criteria, though, I would call Schwantner's Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra (1994) a major success. I knew the concerto in its arrangement by Andrew Boysen for Percussion and Concert Band, on two different recordings from Calgary & West Texas. This new Naxos CD has the major advantage of having a full orchestra; Schwantner is working here with a full palette. And not just any orchestra - the Nashville Symphony is in fine form under the direction of Giancarlo Guerrero. Christopher Lamb, who commissioned the work, provides an incredible range of sounds from his large battery of instruments. This is a major masterpiece of the last decade of the 20th century.

Of the two other pieces on the disc, both World Premiere recordings, I was most impressed with Morning's Embrace, an evocative naturescape. Schwantner, like a few other American composers, is able to write music inspired by nature that stays out of the well-worn grooves of the English pastoral tradition and "New Age" kitsch.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Daniel R. Coombs on July 25, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Joseph Schwantner has been one of America's very finest composers and among our best known for quite some time now. My first exposure to his music was hearing his 1979 Pulitzer prize winning "Aftertones of Infinity". Other listeners may know his sweeping Copland-esque "New Morning for the World" utilizing the words of Martin Luther King. All of Schwanter's music is imbued with a keen sense of drama and creation of some wonderful tone colors and sonorities. This new disc in Naxos' ongoing "American Classics" series is indeed another brilliant addition to that series but showcases some of the sounds that Schwantner is best known for. His three movement "Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra" is a brilliant tour-de-force for the soloist; in this case the incredible Christopher Lamb. There are moments in this work that are reminiscent of Holst or Stravinsky but also of Schwanter's other output. He is a composer who has always known how to best utilize the percussion section and the mystery and introspection of the middle movement is met by the drive and energy of the outher two. The other works on this album are just as captivating. "Morning's Embrace" was written in 2005 for the National Symphony and Leonard Slatkin. Like Schwanter's other work, "A Sudden Rainbow", this picturesque work opens with tinkling metal percussion and open, plaintive strings. "Morning's Embrace" very effectively evokes a sunrise and makes great use of majestic harmonies that are commented on or "interrupted" by percussion and piano. Similarly, "Chasing Light" is a brilliant four movement work, each movement articulating some aspect of light, including the last movement that evokes both the title and the mood of "Morning's Embrace". This wonderful work is a product of the Ford "Made in America" commissioning consortium.Read more ›
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