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Records International, March 2020

Three approachable and enjoyable concerti, as different as their solo instruments but in the familiar bold, colorful, very tonal vocabulary that brings out the best in composers inclined toward the wind orchestra genre. © 2020 Records International Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, February 2020

Three American composers offer wind concertos composed in the present century and here premiered on disc in concert performances from over the past decade.

A previous disc coupling together the identical composers was released in September 2015 when I commended them to an international audience as examples of the music now emanating from North America. It owes allegiance to no influences, but bridges the difficult gap between tonal and atonal concepts. Susan Botti’s Saxophone Concerto is pictorial and has been given the title sull’ala (on the wing), its three movements separated by two interludes picturing starlings in flight. For the soloist, Carrie Koffman, it must have presented many challenges, but to the listener it is an interesting mix of rhythms and freshly minted sounds. Jess Turner’s Heavy Weather seeks to depict the meteorological phenomenon that brings together two weather systems and pressures that when coming together can cause much devastation on the planet. The Tuba Concerto seeks to recreate the causes and not the result of that event. It uses the traditional sounds of the instrument, which can make for a rather grumpy mood. Finally Stephen Michael Gryc offers the character of Guignol who comes, as a puppet, from the type of characters we find in the Italian, commedia dell’arte, this funny one being also brave and courageous. Scored for bassoon and a chamber group of winds and percussion, the soloist, Marc Goldberg, is outstanding. In three movements, a delightful tonal score, with charming melodic invention, is a concise gem. The Hartt Wind Ensemble is among the finest college groups in the United States, and with their ‘Director of Bands’, Glen Adsit, conducting music that he obviously enjoyed. Good ‘in house’ recording team, and much recommended. © 2020 David’s Review Corner

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