Tower: Fanfares for the Uncommon Woman
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Audio CD, September 21, 1999
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The title of this extraordinary collection of orchestral gems suggests both parody of and homage to Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man. But Joan Tower, as always, has her own artistic vision and nothing here is either a parody of or homage to anyone. There are five Fanfares and a tasty Duet for Orchestra. The main work here is a Concerto for Orchestra (1991), a dazzling exhibition of energetic exchanges between various orchestral groups that seems designed, like Paul Hindemith's Concerto for Orchestra (but not Bartók's), for smaller forces. This way the instrumental pairings stand out. But give credit here to Marin Alsop, the conductor, and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra for making these works both lucid and vibrant. This disc clearly belongs in any collection of late-20th-century music. --Paul Cook
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Tower's exergue(orientation) here is a bit overextended I think, she should pursue her own musical language not simply "tail-end" the man's repertoire,her early works had dabbled in 12 Tone language in a modest way, it was like a language she didn't feel comfortable in. She feels comfortable in the comfortable with a Eastern Establishment lyricism a la Thompson,Rorem,Schuman,Hansonpouring her spirit tried and tested traditional forms.I though feminism is about innovation and challenge? but the Concerto features moments of brilliant orchestrations,yet not quite original nor innovative enough to sustain interest past one-single hearing.
And Why numerous"Fanfares" isn't one enough?,Well post-modernity is at work here,something unavoidable for either sex the idea of "franchise" if one is good like a McDonald's chain,well do another!!rubber stamp out the fanfares!!, we all need more of it.
Why not write on opera on the struggles of women in the last century or current century women from Rwanda, or Darfur,or Palestine or past HER story Harriet Tubman,Mother Teresa,the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo,or the Armagh Women in Ireland,Rosa Luxemburg.