Monday, June 4, 2018

Audiophile Audition Reviews CD "Moments of Arrival" Conducted by Julius P. Williams

Julius Penson Williams
Composer and Conductor

Moments of Arrival = Symphonic works and songs by ROUSSANOVl; McQUILLAN; WILLIAMS; QUALLIONTINE; BURNS – Linda Lister, soprano/ Chorus of Prague/ Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra/ Julius P. Williams – Centaur

Audiophile Audition

May 28, 2018

Gary Lemco 

Russian-American composer Elena Roussanova, Associate Professor in Composition at the Berklee College of Music, has a notable symphonic work in her three-movement Moments of Arrival, a celebration of those inspiring impulses that arise spontaneously, either through Nature or through human interactions. The musical syntax, tonal and highly suggestive of the American influences of Copland and Creston, achieves an appealing melos as well as rhythmic engagement. The first movement, “Moving Forward,” opens with raindrops and proceeds to bucolic musings on landscape. “Reflections” pays likely homage to Thoreau, a lakeside scene upon which the moon casts images upon the willows and the water. Set as an Adagio – Espessivo, the music enjoys a glossy patina, somewhat of Hollywood, somewhat of Howard Hanson. “Moment of Arrival” takes up the spirited-journey motif, Allegro Energico, rife with brass and wind colors, optimistic, the writing reminiscent of good wind-band music on a sunny Sunday afternoon. This is the music perhaps heard in James Agee’s imagination of a family outing.

Lee T. McQuillan (b. 1950) conceived his nine-minute Poet’s Song as a response to a work by Margaret Carbo. McQuillan centers much of his music-making in the Connecticut areas of Hartford and New Haven. Set for soprano and chorus, the piece proceeds in a groping fashion, the words’ searching for a form in the manner of Pater’s aesthetic, that all arts aspiring to the condition of music. Tonal but no less harmonically askew, the music’s achieving the very “cacophonous climax” of color and kaleidoscopic, numinous, rapture ascribed to the poet’s power for creativity.  Another Carbo poem, “The Long Goodbye,” also calls upon the soprano Linda Lister to incant a lament for the composer’s father, who, dying of Alzheimer’s disease, confronts us with slow deterioration and divestment of self.  Resignation looms throughout the seven-minute work, the strings serving as a chamber ensemble, love mixed with implacable loss.

The death of Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2012 drives Julius P. Williams’ InEquities in a Society, a “political” piece that laments this country’s tendency to crucify young men of color. The oboe carries us forward, merging with a string melodic line whose angularity will result in a full “confrontation” with the repressive agents of “authority.” The syntax shares elements with Shostakovich, insofar as dissonances and ostinati carry the brutal tension of an environment poisoned by racial profiling and oppression.  The tympani marks the fatal encounter, and the battery soon crushes any lyric consolation the oboe tries to offer.

Comment by email:
Thanks Bill!
Julius P. Williams
Artistic director/Conductor Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra

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