Comment and Concert Reviews



New and Recent


Recordings of Michael Colgrass

ARCTIC DREAMS for large wind ensemble.

Frank Battisti conducts the New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble with members of the New England Conservatory choruses under Tamara Brooks.
Centaur Records, CRC 2288.

A tone poem about life in the Arctic, with musical depictions of ice floating in the sun, the aurora borealis, polar nights, Inuit throat-singing, the spring hunt and drum dancing.

CHACONNE for viola and orchestra

Soloist, Rivka Golani
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Davis, conductor.
CBC Records 2-5O87. Music also by Bloch, Hindemith and Britten.

A theme and 23 variations exploring the viola in a variety of concertante settings and traversing 300 years of musical styles.

  CONCERTMASTERS for Three Violins and Orchestra

Soloists: Robert Rudie, red violin, Masako Yanagita, yellow violin, Ronald Oakland, blue violin.
The American Symphony Orchestra, Kazuyoshi Akiyama, conductor.
Vox 5158.

Three violins portrayed like actors in a play, going through a series of dialogues and confrontations, sometimes romantic, often atonal, based on a baroque theme.

DEJA VU for percussion quartet and orchestra.

Soloists: Richard Holmes, Richard O'Donnell, John Kasica, Thomas Stubbs.
The Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin, conductor.
New World Records, NW 318.

Four percussionists playing four separate solos, often in separate tempi, while exploring percussion colors in various musical styles.

DÉJÀ VU for four percussionists and wind ensemble.

Eugene Corporan conducting the North Texas Wind symphony with percussion soloists Troy Breaux, Shawn Hart, Jeff Prosperie and Edward Stephan.

HAMMER & BOW, for violin and marimba

Jacques Israelievitch, violin, Michael Israelievitch, marimba Fleur de son Classics, FDS 57941. 

A duet combining a variety of violin and marimba effects to reflect the mysterious and unpredictable mood changes of two people in a close relationship.

LIGHT SPIRIT for flute, viola, guitar and two percussion players.

The Saint Louis Symphony Players, Catherine Comet, conductor.
New World Records, NW 318.

A light and playful piece for flute, viola, guitar and two percussion, described by New York Times critic Harold C. Schonberg, as "bouncing along with evocations of jazz, the baroque and serialism, not taking any of them especially seriously. The result has a curious charm."

SNOW WALKER American Works for Organ and Orchestra

David Schrader organ
Grant Park Orchestra, Carlos Kalmar conductor
Cedille Records CDR 90000 0 063

URBAN REQUIEM for four saxophones and wind orchestra.

Soloists: George Weremchuck, soprano sax, David Ferndandez, alto sax, Tom McCormick, tenor sax, Stephen Welsh, baritone sax, The University of Miami Wind Ensemble, Gary Green, conductor.
Albany Records, Troy 212.

A large-scale work where soloists and accompanying ensemble (average-size symphony orchestra without strings broken up into various "neighborhoods") interact while expressing the diversity, humor and tragedy inherent in our cities.

URBAN REQUIEM: Second Recording

Soloists: Brian Handley, soprano sax, Chris Thompson, alto sax, Robert Schrepel, tenor sax, Jeffrey Fulton, baritone sax.
The University of Minnesota Wind Ensemble, Craig Kirchhoff, conductor.
Innova Records CD 517. (Release date, July l998)


Violist Rivka Golani and percussionist Ryan Scott.
Centrediscs CMC CD 5798. (June l998, not yet reviewed)

Commissioned by violist Emanuel Vardi and premiered at the Five Spot Cafe in New York City by him with the composer playing four tunable "timp-toms," this work has become a repertory piece for violists.


Northwestern University Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Mallory Thompson, conductor.

Summit Records DCD-313.

A tone poem based on the books of Carlos Castaneda about his experiences with the Yaqui Indian sorcerer don Juan. 

WINDS OF NAGUAL A Musical Fable for Wind Ensemble

The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Wind Ensemble, Eugene Corporon, conductor. Music also of Diamond, Hartley, Murray and Nelson.
Mark Records, MCD 78O.

A tone poem for wind ensemble based on the books by Carlos Castaneda about his experiences with the Yaqui Indian sorcerer Don Juan.

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