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Gordon Getty: Orchestral Works / Marriner, ASMF

Getty / Amf / Marriner
Release Date: 03/30/2010 
Label:  Pentatone   Catalog #: 5186356  
Composer:  Gordon Getty
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
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Liner Notes

Notes and Editorial Reviews



GETTY Plump Jack: Overture. Ancestor Suite. Tiefer und Tiefer. Homework Suite. The Fiddler of Ballykeel. Raise the Colors Neville Marriner, cond; Academy of St. Martin in the Fields PENTATONE 5186356 (SACD: 60:20)


Gordon Getty, who describes himself as “two-thirds a 19th-century composer,” is nevertheless a creative and original one and, as this CD proves, the other one-third makes its presence felt often enough to provide interest and Read more flexibility.


The CD opens with the overture to his opera Plump Jack, based on Shakespeare’s Falstaff, and it succinctly summarizes the fat knight’s journey from fellow mischief-maker of Prince Hal to his being banished by Hal when the latter becomes King Henry V. As such, it does its job very well and thus can stand on its own as a concert piece sans opera. If I have one reservation about it, in fact, it is that it seems to me to work better as a tone poem than an overture. It goes through several tempo and key changes in its journey, shifting its moods and story with interest and a rich palette of orchestral colors.


Ancestor Suite is a ballet loosely based on Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, premiered in Moscow in 2009. Here, Getty’s music is not so resolutely tonal, but rather points up the macabre aspects of Poe’s story with relish. Divided into 11 sections, the suite focuses, appropriately, on dances (waltzes, a Schottische, polka, gavotte, and march), but always with eerie overtones. In the opening waltz, for instance, one hears a fragmenting of both the melody and its orchestration in a way that harkens back to Stravinsky’s neoclassic period as well as Copland. The “Waltz of the Ancestors” has a sort of clumsy, galumphing quality reminiscent of the “Dance of the Knights” in Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. The Schottische dances its way through ambiguous tonality (also like Prokofiev) while the Waltz-Ländler has a fragmented, almost uncertain quality to it. The theme representing Madeline Usher, the mad but pure member of the family, has a tender but skewered quality to it, not unlike portions of Copland’s Rodeo. Getty’s music always seems to be on the verge of a tune, but his restless and quite original sense of imagination keeps such tunes from developing and thus running the risk of becoming cloying. Getty’s music is very “open,” both in form and orchestration, which creates a moment-to-moment fascination, and even in this ballet score, a wry sense of humor.


Tiefer und Tiefer (Deeper and Deeper), given here in Getty’s arrangement for string orchestra, is also used in his Three Waltzes for Piano and Orchestra. Melodically, it is quite simple; harmonically, it is quite discursive, composed of six-bar segments that shift tonality at or within almost every phrase. Homework is an orchestrated version of one of his earliest piano pieces, written in 1964 while he was still a student. One can hear quite clearly here his musical debts to Copland and Thomson, and if the music is less developed than his later works it certainly has charm in abundance. The Fiddler of Ballykeel and Raise the Colors are exuberant, outgoing, celebratory works in regular rhythms and full orchestral colors, a fitting conclusion to this CD.


The performances by Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields display this orchestra’s metamorphosis from its chamber roots in the 1960s to its more robust sound today. PentaTone’s sound, undeniably resonant as a result of SACD mastering, is nevertheless clear and transparent at all times.


FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley


This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.
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Works on This Recording

1.
Overture "Plump Jack" by Gordon Getty
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
2.
Ancestor Suite by Gordon Getty
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
3.
Tiefer und Tiefer by Gordon Getty
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
4.
Homework Suite by Gordon Getty
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
5.
The Fiddler of Ballykeel by Gordon Getty
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
6.
Raise the Colors by Gordon Getty
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 

Sound Samples

Plump Jack: Overture
Ancestor Suite: I. Zwei Walzer
Ancestor Suite: II. Waltz of the Ancestors
Ancestor Suite: III. Schottische
Ancestor Suite: IV. Waltz: Landler
Ancestor Suite: V. Polka: Polonaise
Ancestor Suite: VI. Gavotte
Ancestor Suite: VII. Gothic Waltz
Ancestor Suite: VIII. March - Sarabande: Presto
Ancestor Suite: IX. Madeline
Ancestor Suite: X. Ewig Du
Ancestor Suite: XI. Finale
Homework Suite: I. Seascape
Homework Suite: II. Giga
Homework Suite: III. Ghost Waltz
Homework Suite: IV. Berceuse
Homework Suite: V. Night Horses
The Fiddler of Ballykeel
Raise the Colors

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