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Cinemusical, August 2013

These three works are all interestingly different. Each work will have its individual appeal to different audiences and there are things most listeners will appreciate in each piece.

The performances here are all quite good…The technical ability of the ensemble is certainly on great display throughout these different works…fans of wind band music will certainly appreciate this interesting release. © 2013 Cinemusical Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, August 2013

Three multi- award ‘picture’ symphonies from Johan de Meij, one of North America’s most colouful composers, are here recorded in their wind band format. Dating from 1987 ‘The Lord of the Rings’ covers five of the major characters and events in a colourful and descriptive progress through the famous story book.  It is a lengthy score of around forty minutes stretching the resources of a wind ensemble in its demands on their technical virtuosity. The composer later made an orchestral version with its greater spread of instrumental sounds, and in that form it has been recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra. Six years later came ‘The Big Apple’, a view of New York that opens with the excitement of the ‘Skyline’. Here de Meij owes a massive debt to John Adams and Copland, his use in Minimalist techniques pile-driving home the impact of the vista. ‘Times Square’ forms a brief scherzo before we reach the brutal aspects of the metropolis in a very extended finale. A further thirteen years and we come to ‘Planet Earth’, a three-movement score approaching fifty minutes in length. Opening with sound effects, its strong relationship with film scores soon becomes apparent, as, without a break, we move from the opening ‘Lonely Planet’ to ‘Planet Earth’. We return to where the work began in the finale, ‘Mother Earth’, the moods rapidly changing as thoughts of life on earth lead to a big outpouring of happiness…As students come and go, the Peabody Wind Ensemble changes…the 2010/11 ensemble, heard in the First and Third, still of admirable quality. © David’s Review Corner

Ira Novoselsky
BandWorld, July 2013

The three symphonies of Johan de Meij are now available together in this splendid recording by the renowned Peabody Conservatory Wind Ensemble. Dr. Parker’s interpretation brings out the best throughout all members of the ensemble. This entire recording is a magnificent trilogy you shouldn’t overlook. © BandWorld Read complete review

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