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Audio CD, November 2, 2004
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Product Description

This release features Javelin, written for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in conjunction with the 1996 Olympics. "Javelin is lithe and sleek and very athletic and heroic in tone-it's bright and breezy countenance more than fufilling its sporting brief." -Gramophone.

"It's got memorable tunes and spunky post-minimalist animation; it's up to date yet perfectly designed to capture the essence of the Games. It has the ability to lift the spirit time and time again." -Los Angeles Times [Javelin]

"...Both the flickering orientalism of the opening movement's main motif, and the sweetly-breathed rhapsody spun by the soloist in the slow middle movement, are evidence that Torke's gift for melody is richer than his large scale "colour" works for orchestra suggest." -Classic CD [Saxophone Concerto]

"...the movie soundtrack genre is stretched and enervated..." -New York Times [Run]

"Here [is] a big-city night on the town, full of bright lights and big bangs. The [piece] is in little jolts of changing meters, but respected in all of them is one underlying sense of momentum." --New York Times [Charcoal]


"It's got memorable tunes and spunky post-minimalist animation...It has the ability to lift the spirit time and time again." -- Los Angeles Times (on Javelin)

"Javelin is lithe and sleek and very athletic...its bright and breezy countenance more than fulfilling its sporting brief." -- Gramophone
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 2, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ecstatic Records
  • ASIN: B000679NLE
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #371,945 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steve Wyzard on November 16, 2010
Format: Audio CD
"If we do not encourage the music of today, there will be no music of tomorrow." Serge Koussevitzky

Post-minimalism? Michael Torke, our greatest living composer in what can broadly be described as "classical music", has a devoted listener following, but has never been accepted by the media intelligentsia. Consistently condemned with faint praise or ignored entirely, Torke's vigorous, adventuresome work is nothing short of tomorrow's music today. His compositions are often compared to those of Stravinsky, Debussy, Prokofiev, or Copland, and cynical critics are apt to resort to descriptions such as "bombastic" or "crowd-pleasing". Of course anything discovered by audiences before receiving approval from academia is quickly dismissed by our society's Know-It-Alls, and exhilarating, forward-looking music (like the five compositions found on this disc) is always viewed with suspicion. Torke is no longer subject to conforming to the demands of record-company bean-counters, having formed his own (appropriately named) Ecstatic Records in 2003. Featuring four different conductors (including Torke) and four different orchestras, Three is a compiliation of some of his best work from the early 1990s.

So what does this controversial music actually sound like? Torke (b.1961) has already developed an individual, personal sound-world, as distinctive as a thumb print. While each work moves to the beat of its own drummer, one quickly begins to recognize fluttering, frothy flutes, quirky woodwind lines, vigorous strings and percussion, churning rhythms, big, emphatic brass statements, and staccato orchestral tuttis. Small repetitive thematic fragments work their way into your consciousness.
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Michael Torke is renown for his bright cheerful, positive compositions. He must be a happy, optimistic person. Almost all of his works, or sections of large pieces, are short, some 5 to 15 minutes. They have been adapted for the dance, as encores, as theatrical interludes. They are episodic in mood. Many have the percussive pulse akin to those of Steve Reich. There is little development and emotional shifting, except when taken in a series, as in a concerto. This particular album, number 3 of his own reissues from the defunk Decca ARGO label, includes works from 1993 to 1996. It begins with Javelin, which is full of excitement, energy and movement. It is followed by a lyrical, light but sometimes reflectively thoughtful saxophone concerto. December, the next composition, which by title connotes winter and somberness, does have its quieter moments but begins with speed and intensity as an approaching storm. Run, like Javelin, is about energy and flow; it begins with a fanfare of sorts and then, well, runs to the finish line. The last work, another of Torke's color series, is Charcoal and one prepared specifically for ballet and thus richer and somewhat more complex within its merely six minutes. It is angular and percussive with drums and staccato with reeds and brass. Torke seems to be less effective in very prolonged, nonepisodic compositions, but I am happy with his vignettes. Torke named his record firm, Ecstatic [referringto his piece Ecstatic Orange]; you too will find joy in this album.
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