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Merlin Patterson
Fanfare, January 2018

This is just a marvelous disc… Jennifer Higdon has emerged as one of the leading creative musical voices of our time, producing a seemingly endless stream of expertly crafted, emotionally satisfying, and accessible works in virtually all genres. Hidgon has proven herself to be a master orchestral colorist and she has a unique ability to connect with an audience that few modern composers possess, at least not without pandering, which Hidgon never does. This disc presents three of her most satisfying works in dazzling performances by the Nashville Symphony conducted by its brilliant music director, Giancarlo Guerrero.

The Nashville Symphony…plays magnificently here, proving once again that it is truly an unheralded treasure among American orchestras; and, as usual, Giancarlo Guerrero shows himself to be a master interpreter of modern American music. Great sound and balance between soloists and orchestra. A real winner! © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review




Merlin Patterson
Fanfare, November 2017

Jennifer Higdon has emerged as one of the leading composers of our time, having received numerous commissions and performances from major orchestras, soloists, chamber ensembles, and opera companies, as well as the Pulitzer Prize for her magnificent Violin Concerto. For me, the highlight of the Nashville/Guerrero disc is her achingly beautiful Viola Concerto, although the pastoral Oboe Concerto, here presented for the first time in its original orchestral version, and the symphonic potrait All Things Majestic, inspired by the Grand Tetons, are no less satisfying or evocative. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review



Carlos María Solare
The Strad, October 2017

Jennifer Higdon…wrote her Viola Concerto in 2014 for Roberto Díaz, the institution’s president. …The concerto begins with a yearning melody that undulates its way through the viola’s register, accompanied by continually changing orchestral colours before ending on a solitary low C of the soloist. There follow a swinging scherzo and a finale that begins with a slow introduction before going on to a jazzy main section. Performing on the 1697 ‘Primrose’ Amati, Díaz makes a subtly modulated, perfectly focused sound throughout the instrument’s range.

Together with conductor Giancarlo Guerrero, he holds the long, occasionally rambling opening movement convincingly together and negotiates the finale’s top-speed, high-wire act with the greatest aplomb, making an excellent case for this much-needed addition to the viola’s concerto repertoire. Higdon’s Oboe Concerto from 2005 is in one, multi-section movement. James Button and his Nashville Symphony colleagues are obviously on the appropriate wavelength for what is effectively chamber music writ large, the soloist variously paired with the different instrumental groups or their principals. The kaleidoscopic variety of All Things Majestic, a four-movement suite inspired by the breathtaking landscapes of the Teton mountain range, showcases the orchestra’s collective virtuosity, vividly recorded on its home turf. © 2017 The Strad Read complete review



Lisa Flynn
WFMT (Chicago), September 2017

Jennifer Higdon is one of the most distinguished composers working in America today, and her music is a perfect fit for the Nashville Symphony, which has long maintained a commitment to championing the country’s most important voices. All Things Majestic is a four-movement suite which vividly captures the breathtaking beauty of the American landscape, and her wonderfully expressive concertos for viola and oboe bring out the unique textures and sonorities of these frequently overlooked solo instruments. © 2017 WFMT (Chicago)




Elizabeth Kerr
New Zealand Listener, August 2017

Pulitzer Prize-winner Jennifer Higdon writes music that lives outside—on horseback, on the trail, over the prairie—occasionally nipping indoors for some toe-tapping hoedown fiddling. Her world view is much more nationally focused than Harrison’s and her language is the tonal idiom of postmodernism, with a touch of Americana.

These viola and oboe concertos have the unashamed beauty of neo-Romanticism. The soaring melodies may be a little sentimental, but the orchestration is that of a composer in full command of her craft.

The four movements of orchestral suite All Things Majestic evoke mountains, lakes, rivers and the “cathedrals” under the tall trees of America’s national parks. Film music cliché lurks at times, but Higdon doesn’t succumb she is very popular in her own country and the grandeur of this music. © 2017 Listener (New Zealand)



Zoë Madonna
The Boston Globe, July 2017

Jennifer Higdon’s lush orchestral works embrace Americana with neither irony nor cheesiness. This is exemplified in the driving fiddling from Roberto Díaz in the Viola Concerto, James Button’s lonesome solos in the Oboe Concerto, and the sweeping vistas of “All Things Majestic,” a symphonic postcard from Grand Teton National Park. © 2017 The Boston Globe



David Barker
MusicWeb International, July 2017

These were live recordings but I hadn’t realised this until looking at the notes, so the Nashville audiences were certainly on their best behaviour. The sound quality is very good, as are all the performances.

If you appreciate modern orchestral music that retains the principles of melody and rhythm, you will respond very positively to these very impressive scores. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Bob McQuiston
Classical Lost and Found, June 2017

The NSO under their Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero deliver a rousing performance of this, and couldn’t be more supportive in the two opening concertante works. As regards the first, soloist Robert Díaz’ playing is superb with no hint of the pitch-related queasiness sometimes associated with the viola. Australian-born, NSO first oboist Button James Button is equally splendid in the second concerto. © 2017 Classical Lost And Found Read complete review



Roger Knox
The WholeNote, May 2017

Celebrated American composer Jennifer Higdon’s music has a personal voice linking to major 20th-century American composers. Her complex but meticulously scored suite All Things Majestic (2011) is more than ably represented on this disc by the Nashville Symphony under renowned conductor Giancarlo Guerrero.

Guest Chilean-American soloist Roberto Díaz’s full, well-rounded tone pervades the Viola Concerto (2014). …In the pastoral opening of the one-movement Oboe Concerto (2005), Nashville principal oboist James Button’s rich timbre suffuses an extended melodic line. A contrasting motivic and rhythmic section gradually emerges with quirky orchestration, creating sparks that energize the rest of this convincing work. © 2017 The WholeNote Read complete review



John Quinn
MusicWeb International, May 2017

The Viola Concerto is a most attractive work and Roberto Díaz is a persuasive and accomplished soloist, he receives excellent support from Guerrero and the Nashville orchestra.

The Oboe Concerto is cast in one movement. Once again Higdon exploits the singing, lyrical qualities of the solo instrument.

This is another winning concerto. James Button plays it splendidly and one readily senses a true partnership with the Nashville Symphony and Giancarlo Guerrero.

Throughout this disc the Nashville Symphony offers extremely accomplished and committed playing. The sound quality is very good. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review




David Hurwitz
ClassicsToday.com, May 2017

No doubt about it, Jennifer Higdon is a master craftsman. The three works hear are all attractive, formally shapely, smartly and colorfully scored, thematically appealing, and approachable without ever pandering. The Viola Concerto and Oboe Concerto are especially effective, exploiting the unique timbres of the solo instrument with great sensitivity.

The performances do the music proud, with Roberto Diaz (viola) and James Button (oboe) the excellent soloists, and Giancarlo Guerrero leading the Nashville Symphony with unflagging enthusiasm. A beautifully produced disc, all around. © 2017 ClassicsToday.com Read complete review



Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, May 2017

There are more and more women composers out there in present times, which of course is a healthy trend. One of the best and most well known is Jennifer Higdon. We have a recent disk of some orchestral works on All Things Majestic which features Giancarlo Guerrero and the Nashville Symphony with convincing performances.

I can find no fault with the music or the performances. So I cannot say this is not a worthy release. Higdon needs to be heard and here is a good opportunity for that. © 2017 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review



Donald Rosenberg
Gramophone, May 2017

The orchestra is an enormous canvas to which Jennifer Higdon applies subtle and bold colours. Her ability to use instruments in a spectrum of sonic and expressive capacities is vividly apparent in the three works on this new disc featuring the Nashville Symphony under music director Giancarlo Guerrero.

Higdon’s Oboe Concerto (2005) is in one extended movement that emphasises the oboe’s knack for spinning long, lyrical phrases and scampering with ease. It is a piece of shimmering beauty, which James Button, the Nashville Symphony’s principal oboe, plays with elegant mastery.

The Grand Tetons are the inspiration behind All Things Majestic (2011), whose four movements paint portraits of thrilling landscapes. Higdon uses the full resources of the orchestra to convey the splendour of mountains, motion of bodies of water and wonders of other natural phenomena. Guerrero guides his ensemble through a performance in which both details and arching statements are set forth to resplendent effect. © 2017 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



Barry Forshaw
Classical CD Choice, April 2017

Jennifer Higdon is one of the most distinguished composers working in America today, and her music is a perfect fit for the Nashville Symphony, which has long maintained a commitment to championing the country’s most important voices. All Things Majestic is a four-movement suite which vividly captures the breath-taking beauty of the American landscape, and her wonderfully expressive concertos for viola and oboe bring out the unique textures and sonorities of these frequently overlooked solo instruments. © 2017 Classical CD Choice Read complete review




Infodad.com, April 2017

Higdon’s penchant for using tonality and atonality as the mood strikes her is evident in the concertos here, of which the Viola Concerto (2014) is especially successful. The opening movement is quite lovely, sharing in some of the musical sentiments heard later on the disc in All Things Majestic. The work’s second movement is spirited, forthright and folklike in sound and feeling. The finale has it both ways, its lyrical elements eventually giving way to brightness and jazzy, dance-like vitality. Roberto Díaz, for whom the work was written, plays it with great style and apparently effortless virtuosity, and the Nashville Symphony under Giancarlo Guerrero provides first-rate backup. © 2017 Infodad.com Read complete review



Robert Benson
ClassicalCDReview.com, April 2017

All of this music is played to perfection by the excellent Nashville Symphony… © 2017 ClassicalCDReview.com Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, March 2017

The one thing that you can expect from Jennifer Higdon is the unexpected, her musical home residing in the use of atonality or tonality as the mood pleases her. So we begin three years ago with a Viola Concerto whose opening movement is clothed in beauty, and to such an extent that it could well have been influenced by the Twentieth century British pastoral school. A transatlantic journey takes us back to American folk music for the energetic central movement, before returning to serenity in the long singing lines of the finale, and then, in another twist reinstates a dance-like vivacity. Certainly one of the most impressive modern-day Viola Concertos, here played by Roberto Díaz on the gorgeous Amati instrument that once helped to make William Primrose famous. Written nine years previous, in 2005, I find the opening and closing of the one-movement Oboe Concerto to be rather meandering, but returning to the instrument’s perky personality in the central section. It is played by James Button, principal oboe in the Nashville Symphony. He offers a clean and very pure sound somewhat removed from the more ‘fruity’ quality of the European style of playing. Having many years ago spent just one gorgeous day in Jackson Hole in the north-west of the United States, Higdon vividly recalls my memories in four musical pictures, ‘All Things Majestic’, closing with that wonderful vista of encircling mountains. They are expressed in music that is instantly likeable, and I hope you will spend time with this disc joining Higdon’s very mixed musical language. She has the very dedicated and technically superb musicians of the Nashville orchestra, with their conductor, Giancarlo Guerrero, playing in a sound quality from the premiere league. © 2017 David’s Review Corner





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