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Millennium Canons


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Audio CD, June 30, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Comprising the University' s most accomplished musicians, The University of Georgia Wind Ensemble commissions and premieres new compositions and performs other significant works from the wind band repertoire. From Holst' Hammersmith, d

Review

It seems like only yesterday that I was praising director John Lynch for his work with the University of Kansas Wind Ensemble (Sept/Oct2006: 257). Now he is doing good things with this group from the University of Georgia.

Kevin Puts's `Millennium Canons' (2002) is an attractive and attention-holding opener with fanfares in close imitation, unexpected harmonic progressions, and lyrical melodies passed between soloists. Jonathan Newman's My Hands are a City (2008) borrows from his own `Rivers of Bowery' and from 1950s musical styles in a work that attempts to depict life on the lower East Side of New York. Cast in the lots-going-on style favored by some of today's prominent band composers, the genial work is long (13 minutes) and tries to say too much.

University of Michigan faculty composer Kristin Kuster was thinking about the mountains, the sky, and our interaction with nature as she wrote `Lost Gulch Lookout' (2008) on commission by conductor Lynch. Her harmonic language is craggier than Newman's, but their dramatic aims are similar. In Kingfishers Catch Fire (2007), John Mackey attempts to portray `Following falls and falls of rain' in a hushed I, then `Kingfishers catch fire' in a bubbly II. Although much of II is a three-ring circus, it is an organized one with busy minimalist flavors.

The program then takes a large step back into the past with the Prelude (a continuously unfolding work in ground-bass style) and Scherzo (a complex, contrapuntal work that begins as a traditional fugue) from Holst's Hammersmith (1930). In its own way, this old piece is just as complex and ambitious as the new ones. The program ends with Adam Gorb's winsome and effervescent `Awayday' (1996), described by the Welsh composer as "George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein, Igor Stravinsky, and James Bond travelling together at 100 miles per hour in an open-top sports car".

Solid accounts of a challenging program. The ensemble's sound is big and solid yet unforced. Excellent recorded sound. -- American Record Guide, Barry Kilpatrick, November/December 2009

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