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Higdon: All Things Majestic / Guerrero, Nashville Symphony

Release Date: 03/10/2017 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8559823  
Composer:  Jennifer Higdon
Performer:  Roberto DíazJames Button
Conductor:  Giancarlo Guerrero
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

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. They are also quite different from each other. The Viola Concerto adopts the standard, three-movement structure, with the finale alternately solemn and dance-like (sound clip). The Oboe Concerto, on the other hand, plays in a single movement a bit less than twenty minutes long, an ideal length that ensures a piece that’s not too fatiguing for either the player or the listener.

Read more All Things Majestic is a four-movement suite with each movement inspired by some feature of the American landscape. There are, to be frank, lots of similar pieces by American composers, and you would be hard pressed to point to stylistic qualities that say “Higdon” as opposed to quite a few of those others, but once again there’s no denying the quality of workmanship throughout. The performances, too, 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.

– ClassicsToday (David Hurwitz) Read less

Works on This Recording

Concerto for Viola by Jennifer Higdon
Performer:  Roberto Díaz (Viola)
Conductor:  Giancarlo Guerrero
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2015; USA 
Venue:  Schermerhorn Symphony Center 
Length: 21 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Concerto for Oboe by Jennifer Higdon
Performer:  James Button (Oboe)
Conductor:  Giancarlo Guerrero
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2005; USA 
Venue:  Schermerhorn Symphony Center 
Length: 18 Minutes 10 Secs. 
All Things Majestic by Jennifer Higdon
Conductor:  Giancarlo Guerrero
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nashville Symphony Orchestra
Period: Contemporary 
Written: USA 
Venue:  Schermerhorn Symphony Center 
Length: 22 Minutes 40 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Wonderfully Listenable Modern Classical Music December 21, 2017 By Jonathan S. (Anchorage, AK) See All My Reviews "All three selections are thoroughly listenable and definitely worth more than one hearing. The Oboe and Violin Concertos are worthy additions to the Concerto Genre and continue its development with modern ideas without pandering to trendy experiments. All Things Majestic can be taken as a whole or in pieces. The individual movements stand alone and do not depend on the others for development or understanding. Truly enjoyable." Report Abuse
 Excellent Program and Performance June 20, 2017 By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) See All My Reviews "Two world premiere recordings open this very fine program of modern orchestral music from American composer Jennifer Higdon. Her Viola Concerto (20114) is a lyrical masterpiece that exposes the inherent beauty of the viola's naturally subdued sound world. There is more than a hint of light jazz and perhaps even some bluegrass fiddling throughout this concerto, which starts with its slow movement and then progressively cranks up the intensity in subsequent movements, thus creating an artistic tour de force for this often underappreciated, yet vital, member of any orchestra. As for the second of the world premieres (the Oboe Concerto from 2005), it seems to tone down the more exuberant expressiveness of the Viola Concerto, yet clearly stands as a virtuosic piece, demanding a lot from the oboe soloist. Its 18 minute long single movement emphasizes the limpid sound quality of the oboe in a relaxed, controlled manner that perfectly synchronizes with the steady orchestral accompaniment which the score provides. Finally, the major orchestral effort on this recording is All Things Majestic (2011), a four movement work combining the structure of a full symphony with the aesthetic purpose of a large scale tone poem. This highly evocative music has a quasi-programmatic aspect, specifically a musical portrayal of the grandeur of nature in the American National Park System. Its mood ranges from pastoral mountain quietude to the rush of fresh water streams- all in all, a superb musical tribute to this country's great national treasures found in our national parks. The Nashville Symphony Orchestra, under its outstanding music director Giancarlo Guerrero, does a great job with Jennifer Higdon's very imaginative scores. In short, this disk contains music that is modern, yet very accessible, heartfelt and easy to understand (and thus to appreciate and enjoy). Recommended." Report Abuse
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