Late Victorians, wearing modern garb
Here's a varied program by a leading American composer of our time, both tonal and contemporary in the music he creates. One movement from a full-length concerto has been scored as a standalone piece for harp and strings, while an overture to one opera is followed by a suite from another (the much-performed "Little Women"). "Late Victorians," the title work of the disc, takes a magazine essay on AIDS, its victims and survivors, and weaves around it the poetry of Emily Dickinson; two solo voices are featured, one spoken and one sung. In a way, it derives from Haydn's "Farewell" symphony, with its vanishing musicians, but though regret and bitterness are added to the mix here, the piece is all the more effective for its generally understated tone. Performances are assured, and the recording is mostly close and clear (the harp gets a little swimmy at times). Notes are by the composer himself, who you should know if you don't.
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