Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:


Symphony No. 53 Star Dawn (1983) 13.56
Symphony No. 29 (1976) 25.16 *
The Flowering Peach (1954) 15.20
Grand Final Processional - Symphony No. 20 Three Journeys toa Holy Mountain (1968) 6.49
Christian Lindberg (trombone) *
Ohio State University Band/Keith Brion
DELOS DE3158 [61.21]

Star Dawn is a late symphony in two movements and reflects the composer's lifelong interest in astronomy meshed with Dante Alighieri's 'Divine Comedy'. The smooth and hypnotic tone of the brass choir picks up resonances with a lazily blown reveille to the star-rise on some very different world from our own. Also Sprach Zarathustra and the hymnal aspect of Finlandia may also occur to you. The jazzy spate of the vibraphone (4.57 in track I) provides contrast amid much unhurried smooth-contoured poetry suggestive of the remoteness of Humbert Wolfe's lonely 'Betelgeuse'.

The trombone Symphony is in four movements in which the mood is predominantly slow and prayer-like led by the bard-like 'elder' of the trombone with rest of the band attentive in their dedication and spirituality. There are flurries of birdsong in the third movement and in the finale the affecting role for the contented trombone seems on the edge of quoting some Caledonian song.

Clifford Odets' play 'The Flowering Peach' retells the story of Noah's Ark. The music is smooth flowing, oiled by the voice of Noah as taken by the saxophone and by the conspiratorial whispering of the band. The rain movement (without sax) is a simple drizzle of timpani, glockenspiel and harp.

The processional from Symphony No. 20 is a work of alternating Holstian gravity, Russian liturgy (Great Gate of Kiev) and pert woodwind writing (Percy Grainger is a Brion speciality on DELOS DE3101) whose grammar is defined by the tolling of bells and the metallic awe of gong strokes. There was room for the whole symphony - our loss that it is not there.

A very recommendable disc.

Rob Barnett


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