1989 Concerto makes a real impression in this expert performance.
Opening with a flourish – a real spiritoso drive – it draws
on trumpet drama and efflorescence; bold, confident and brassy.
There are hints of jazz in the writing, for soloist in particular,
where Thorne alludes to Harlem Stride; at least that’s what
it sounds like to me – a touch of Willie “The Lion” Smith expertly
woven into the tapestry. There’s plenty of syncopation and counterpoint
and listen from 4.00 onwards to a ravishingly beautiful theme
and then again between 8.40 and 8.50 for some off-beat jazz
percussion that sees us through to the climax of this invigorating
and energising first movement.
String choirs lead
in the central movement, a reflective solo giving gravitas and
thoughtfulness to the music-making. The finale is a propulsive
toccata and the toughest of the three movements but one that
dips into Thorne’s arsenal of delicious tunefulness as well
– try the string cantilena from 3.10 on. His Third Concerto
is a real find; try to get to hear it in this performance with
Oppens a dynamic propagandist.
is now a half-century-old and its power and command have not
faded. The delicacy of its opening is deceptive as it grows
in force and builds through blocks of release, reprieve and
renewed drive. The apex of the opening movement is however one
of perfectly timed tranquillity and the kind of refracted Bachian
procedures of the central movement – an Adagio of great concentration
– are not untouched by the severe patina of the orchestration.
The finale, as per Thorne’s much later work, offers a kind of
syncopated toccata, one replete with a degree of pugnacious
brass brutality alternating with solo piano writing of elliptical
independence. Needless to say Robert Taub performs with considerable
command of the unsettled idiom here, as elsewhere, and Paul
Lustig Dunkel leads The Westchester Philharmonic - a name which
sounds like one of those pseudonymous orchestras from 1950s
LPs - with considerable distinction.