Monday, March 4, 2024

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Daniel Hope’s Music For A New Century Misses Extra Usually Than It Hits


From the album cowl

Music for a New Century (DG)

★☆☆☆☆

🎧  Spotify | Amazon | Apple Music

The San Francisco-based New Century Chamber Orchestra, now in its thirtieth yr, has a robust inclination for commissioning new work. An excellent factor, proper? That relies on the work.

The 4 items introduced right here will not be a lot a combined bag as a Walmart show assembled by AI. The third piano concerto by Philip Glass veers between nursery-rhyme puerility and elevator Muzak. I’ve an open thoughts about Glass, however that is probably the most trivial piece of his that I’ve heard in years. Its third motion is devoted to fellow-minimalist Arvo Pärt, who has the appropriate to really feel insulted by its vacancy. The concerto lasts in all 36 minutes, hours, days, years.

Tan Dun’s double concerto for piano, violin, strings and percussion accommodates some Kurtag-like asperities and pentatonic folks melodies. With Daniel Hope and Alexey Botvinov as soloists, it mingles propulsive rhythms with meditative longueurs, and never totally in a tedious manner. The finale is pleasingly misleading, going from bucolic torpor to a frictive, Chinese language confrontation.

Mark-Anthony Turnage, who’s incapable of writing a uninteresting phrase, has turned in a 13-minute Lament for violin and string orchestra that quantities to a requiem for all that we now have misplaced within the race in direction of digital actuality. To my ears, it’s a haven from the lemming world, with beautiful solos for Daniel Hope.

The fourth piece is a neoclassical overture by Jake Heggie. Heggie, nevertheless, is not any Stravinsky. The overture is a useless loss. Turnage’s Lament is a must-hear, the remainder is a can-leave.

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