Reference Recordings proudly presents two new works from leading American composer Jonathan Leshnoff. Distinguished by The New York Times as “a leader of contemporary American lyricism,” Leshnoff is renowned for his music's striking harmonies, structural complexity, and powerful themes. These world premiere recordings showcase the Kansas City Symphony performing his third symphony, inspired by World War I letters home, with texts sung by baritone Stephen Powell. It is coupled with Leshnoff ’s new and exciting piano concerto, dedicated to and performed by pianist Joyce Yang. This is the eighth album in Reference Recordings’ series with Kansas City Symphony. Previous albums are Shakespeare’s Tempest; the GRAMMY® Award-winning Britten’sRead more Orchestra, an Elgar/Vaughan Williams project, Miraculous Metamorphoses, an all-Saint-Saëns album featuring the magnificent Organ Symphony, an album of works from contemporary American composer Adam Schoenberg (nominated for two GRAMMY® Awards), and most recently Gustav Holst’s The Planets and The Perfect Fool. Two additional projects, featuring one-movement symphonies by Barber, Scriabin and Sibelius; and a live recording of works of Johannes Brahms, have been recorded and slated for future release.
Here are two of the Leshnoff’s most impressive works, and the Third Symphony in particular will be relished by those who admire such 20th-century composers as Vaughan Williams, Walton, and Copland. It is music of great authority (inspired by World War I letters home, with texts sung by baritone Stephen Powell), with an equal tempering of drama and beauty, strikingly performed by the Kansas City Symphony under Michael Stern.