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Beauty In America / Carla Auld, Eric Jacobsen, Ana Maria Rosado


Release Date: 12/14/2010 
Label:  Msr   Catalog #: 1318  
Composer:  Robert BeaserGary SchockerMark O'ConnorSteven Giammarino,   ... 
Performer:  Carla AuldAna María Rosado
Conductor:  Eric Jacobsen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Beauty In America Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



BEAUTY IN AMERICA—NEW MUSIC FOR FLUTE Carla Auld (fl); Ana María Rosado (gtr 1 ); Eric Jacobsen, cond; Beauty in America O 2 MSR 1318 (77:18)


1 BEASER Mountain Songs. 2 SCHOCKER Green Places. 2 O’CONNOR Read more The Fallen World. 2 GIAMMARINO Voyage to a New Land


The one composer in this collection whose name I recognized was Robert Beaser, Boston-born and student of Jacob Druckman, Earle Brown, Toru Takemitsu, and Goffredo Petrassi. Since 1993, he has been a professor and chairman of the composition department at Juilliard. As a composer, Beaser (b.1954) is generally cited as belonging to the school of “New Tonalists”— those who have adopted a fundamentally traditional tonal language and melodic/lyrical style with an overlay of modernist trappings in harmony, rhythm, and orchestration. As expected, his music, like that of close contemporary Daniel Asia, is accessible, listener-inviting, and often very beautiful and moving.


Testament to this are a number of recordings of his works, including at least five others of his cycle Mountain Songs for flute and guitar, one of which is by well-known flutist Paula Robison and guitarist Eliot Fisk. The cycle is composed of eight numbers—of which Auld and Rosado give us four—all of them based on traditional folk songs and melodies of the regions, like the Appalachian mountains, depicted by Beaser’s arrangements.


Gary Schocker (b.1959) has, according to the booklet note, published more pieces for flute than any other living composer. His output, however, is not limited to the flute. He has written sonatas for piano, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, and horn. As soloist, he has performed with the New York Philharmonic under Michael Tilson Thomas, as well as with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony, and other orchestras. Schocker has also collaborated with artists including James Galway, who gave the American premiere of Schocker’s Green Places , heard on the present CD, with the New Jersey Symphony.


For those of a certain age, the title Green Places can’t help but evoke memories of the TV sitcom Green Acres , starring Eva Gabor and Eddie Albert. But Schocker’s musical imagery of rolling hills, gardens, and the countryside sounds almost more English than American. It reminds me a bit of the hedgerows, brooks, and browsing cows one sees and hears in the paintings and musical compositions of the English pastoralists. Schocker’s classical-Impressionist piece, however, is often enough interrupted by jazzy asides and little improvisational-sounding flute cadenzas to remind us that we’re not listening to the theme song of Green Acres or Butterworth’s Banks of Green Willow.


Seattle native Mark O’Connor (b.1961) is a crossover artist who began his musical journey by studying the playing of jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli and Texas fiddler Benny Thomasson. By the time he was in his teens, O’Connor had begun winning country fiddling competitions. At 22, he moved to Nashville and began working with leading country, bluegrass, and folk music artists. Feeling creatively challenged, O’Connor eventually bowed out of the session scene to concentrate on composing on his own. A string of works and collaborations with Yo-Yo Ma and Wynton Marsalis followed, nudging O’Connor into the classical music arena. His crossover violin concerto made use of traditional American fiddling techniques and garnered more than 150 performances.


O’Connor’s The Fallen is the composer’s expression of sorrow for those who lost their lives during the Iraq war. The uncredited note author writes, “As a concerned citizen and artist, O’Connor clearly depicts in his music the anguish of the brave soldiers of this war—heroes who offered their lives in combat for the honor and security of our country.” This is The Fallen’s world premiere recording.


Steven Giammarino (b.1961) attended the Mannes School of Music where he majored in composition. Currently, he is organist and director of music at St. Clements Episcopal Church in Hawthorne, New Jersey, and music director of the Pompton Festival Orchestra. We learn from the notes that he has composed many works for piano, flute, organ, choir, orchestra, and various chamber ensembles.


Commissioned by Carla Auld, Giammarino’s Voyage to a New Land portrays the immigrant experience. The first movement, “Maiden Voyage,” describes the arrival in the United States when hopes and dreams of a new life dominate. The middle movement, “Providence,” expresses a longing for family, friends, and places left behind. And finally, the last movement, “The Pioneering Spirit,” sweeps away the nostalgic yearning for what used to be with the energy and optimism for what can be in this new homeland of freedom and opportunity. Substitute tempo markings— Allegro moderato, Andante espressivo , and Allegro giocoso —for movement titles and what you have is a substantial and very beautiful flute concerto. This is its world premiere recording, and based on my personal response to it, Giammarino may be one of America’s best-kept secrets, for other than this new release, I find nothing else of his recorded. Where are all of the works cited above? If they’re anything like Voyage to a New Land , they are worth hearing and really ought to be committed to disc.


Guitarist Ana Maria Rosado, who partners Auld in Mountain Songs , is a gifted guitarist who has concertized extensively throughout the U.S., Europe, Latin America, and the Far East. The Beauty in America Orchestra was formed by Auld only as recently as 2009. Eric Jacobsen, who leads the orchestra on this recording, is also a noted cellist and member of the Brooklyn Rider, a string quartet that explores music beyond the conventional classical-music canon.


The star of this show, of course, is flutist Carla Auld. Her playing is beguiling. Smooth, balanced tone throughout the registers of her instrument, marvelous breath control, and pitch-perfect technical command distinguish all of her performances on this disc. The music, too, is of a style and vocabulary guaranteed to appeal to those who appreciate, as I do, contemporary music made for listening ease and pleasure.


FANFARE: Jerry Dubins
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Works on This Recording

1.
Mountain Songs: Barbara Allen by Robert Beaser
Performer:  Carla Auld (Flute), Ana María Rosado (Guitar)
Conductor:  Eric Jacobsen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Beauty In America Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1984; USA 
2.
Mountain Songs: House carpenter by Robert Beaser
Performer:  Carla Auld (Flute), Ana María Rosado (Guitar)
Conductor:  Eric Jacobsen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Beauty In America Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1984; USA 
3.
Mountain Songs: He's gone away by Robert Beaser
Performer:  Carla Auld (Flute), Ana María Rosado (Guitar)
Conductor:  Eric Jacobsen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Beauty In America Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1984; USA 
4.
Mountain Songs: Quicksilver by Robert Beaser
Performer:  Carla Auld (Flute), Ana María Rosado (Guitar)
Conductor:  Eric Jacobsen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Beauty In America Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1984; USA 
5.
Green Places by Gary Schocker
Performer:  Carla Auld (Flute)
Conductor:  Eric Jacobsen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Beauty In America Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
6.
The Fallen by Mark O'Connor
Performer:  Carla Auld (Flute)
Conductor:  Eric Jacobsen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Beauty In America Orchestra
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 
7.
Voyage to a New Land by Steven Giammarino
Performer:  Carla Auld (Flute)
Conductor:  Eric Jacobsen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  The Beauty In America Orchestra
Period: 21st Century 
Written: USA 

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