|Here's the full review of this recording, from UHF No. 69
Corporon & North Texas Wind Symph.
Rejskind: This recording is an unexpected find. I can't say it looked promising. The North Texas Wind Symphony is the band at a Texas music college. David Dzubay is a faculty member at the college, and his composition, Ra! which opens the disc is named for the ancient Egyptian god of the sun. It's noisy, and I'm sure it was a lot of fun for the musicians, but...
But it rather grew on me after a couple of hearings. Jarring at first, it has a sort of exotic feel to it as it goes. I also couldn't help noticing that the musicians of this large wind band are pretty good. I explored further, and I was glad I had.
Daniel McCarthy's Chamber Symphony No. 2 is in six movements, built heavily around the woodwind section of the band. In structure it is close to a concerto, with an ever shifting interplay between a smaller group of woodwinds on one side, particularly Kathleen Reynolds' bassoon, and a larger group. It is difficult to decide which is the "solo" and which is the "orchestra," because as you concentrate on the music it seems to shift under you. Fascinating!
I also liked Scott Lindroth's all too brief Spin Cycle, which lasts...oh, about as long as the spin cycle on the washer. This is also built around two parts, made up mainly of woodwinds, one seeming to chase the other. Lindroth was inspired by the dance, and the rhythmic patterns are actually Morse code...spelling out the names of people dear to him.
Keiko Abe's Prism Rhapsody II is rather concerto-like also, with the marimba as the solo instruments, playing against the quickly-moving but often dark and brooding woodwinds, with the brass providing the foundation and the atmosphere. It is in long movement that never seems to drag.
Philip Sparke's Sunrise at Angel's Gate has a strong lyrical structure that grows out of a gorgeous theme at the start, and made me think it had to be a piece of film music. A Western, perhaps? Tombstone, Arizona? The images danced in my head. Well, I was in the right part of the continent, all right. Angel's Gate is a natural stone structure in the Grand Canyon, and Sparke wrote it after a visit at (you guessed it) sunrise. It was premiered by the US Army Field Band.
The CD winds up with Joseph Turrin's title piece, composed of three movements: Genesis, Earth Canto, and Rajas. The first movement is moody and unsettling, with interplay between woodwinds and brass, with large percussion instruments and a piano brought into the mix. The piano and percussion play a more prominent role in the slower, darker second movement. The final movement is faster, more frantic. Rajas means "energy," one of the ages of the Earth according to Turrin's notes. The piece was commissioned by Kurt Masur for the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, which premiered it in 2002.
I can't end this without mentioning the sound. Like a number of recent Klavier recordings, this one has a lifelike transparency that appears at odds with what one can normally do with the Compact Disc medium. A large wind band like this, heard live, is thrilling to listen to if it is any good. This one is good, and Bruce Leek's engineering has brought it back alive. It's one more reason to keep this CD next to your player.