Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Litton (conductor)
Joseph Schwantner was born in Chicago in 1943 and is a prominent figure in American contemporary music, his works receiving many accolades including the Pulitzer Prize for Aftertones of Infinity, Friedheim Awards first prize for Music of Amber and a Grammy Award nomination in the category, ‘Best New Classical Composition’ for A Sudden Rainbow. Until recently he was Professor of Music at Yale University.
His music has been performed extensively worldwide and is commonly compared to the likes of Berg, Crumb, Messiaen and Debussy; however, the modern nature of his work should not scare people off as this is accessable music, powerfully emotive and cinematic in style, with luminous textures and dramatic imagery.
A Sudden Rainbow is Schwantner’s earliest work on this disc and calls for amplified piano and celesta and gives a prominent role to pitched and unpitched percussion.
Angelfire is written for and performed on this disc by violinist Anne Akiko Meyers and explores the unique expressive aspects of the violin. Again Schwantner requests that the solo instrument be amplified so that it can compete with the sonorities of such a large orchestra.
The September Canticle was commissioned by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and written as a personal tribute to the victims of 9/11. The combination of menacing, chromatic tonal suspensions and a heart-wrenching melody from the strings enhances the powerful and poignant nature of this one-movement work.