Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Oliver Knissen, Cleveland Orchestra, Asko Ensemble|
Lieberson: Raising The Gaze
Genres: Pop, Classical
Listen to Samples
For those as yet unfamiliar with the young giant...
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 05/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Peter Lieberson is slowly gaining a reputation as one of the more important composers of the day. His music has developed slowly and steadily over the past thirty-odd years, and this CD of his works samples much of what has the concert public talking. These works are of the chamber mode and as such are closely aligned with Lieberson's long affiliation with the Buddhist faith - beauty is in and of itself sufficient, with all the technical finesse surrounding it in homage.
Lieberson is currently in Los Angeles as the artist in residence with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and together with chamber works performed under the highly respected Green Umbrella Series, his newest commission 'Neruda Songs' has now had its world premiere. It is a larger scale work for orchestra and mezzo-soprano based on love poems by Pablo Neruda. It was commissioned by the LA Phil and the Boston Symphony Orchestra and is dedicated to his wife Lorraine Hunt Lieberson who sang the premiere. It is a work of extraordinary beauty - lithe, sensual, soulful, passionate songs of love that have some of the sense of the Strauss 'Four Last Songs' while also suggesting the ethereal vocal resonance usually associated with the French songs of Ravel, Berlioz, Hahn, etc. They are mentioned here as a heads up to collectors as they most assuredly will be recorded soon.
Lieberson's language is now more subtle and more luminous than the works on this CD. But that is just applause for the steady progress in this composer's output. Keep you eye and ear on him. Grady Harp, May 05"
Great Late 20th Century Classical Music
Carte1964 | Hartford, CT United States | 08/19/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A wonderful CD spanning 25 years of Lieberson's music. I came to this CD unfamiliar with Lieberson's music (other than his Piano Concerto) and carrying a more conservative tonal and harmonic bias. However, I found Lieberson's music engaging, challenging and beautiful. Drala's first movement is especially beautiful. I also loved the the three songs, performed flawlessly by Rosemary Hardy. Conducting is the Oliver Knussen, a brilliant composer in his own right."
All technically brilliant, but ultimately leaves me cold
Christopher Culver | 09/01/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This entry in Deutsche Grammophon's "20/21" line of contemporary music recordings collects eight pieces by Peter Lieberson, with Oliver Knussen leading three ensembles. Lieberson is a a relatively often performed but rarely recorded composer, and his two biggest inspirations seem to be Stravinsky, who knew his family when Lieberson was a youth, and Tibetan Buddhism. Perhaps due to the older Stravinsky, his music embraces modern concepts like a vague atonalism while at the same time having a smoothness that makes them very accessible.
The disc opens with a really invigorating miniature symphony, "Drala" (1986), in four movements. I lack the formal training in music theory to explain this piece adequately. However, its structure is quite easy to grasp, with an opening "Invocation" that displays timbre and melody, an uproarious "Gathering" concerned with rhythm, a slow and elegiac "Offerings and Praises", and a final "Raising Windhorse". I especially admire how throughout Lieberson expertly employs all forces of the orchestra without making any seem unnecessary. The use of percussion in the second and fourth movements has a powerful and aggressive edge one rarely hears in contemporary music (though Messiaen and Lutoslawski's first symphony comes to mind). My only complaint about the piece is that much of the third movement doesn't really mesh at all with the other movements, occasionally seeming an abberation.
It's a pity that the rest of the material on the disc doesn't quite compare with the first work. The "Three Songs" for soprano and ensemble, sung here by Rosemary Hardy, are frankly mediocre. The serial work "Ziji" for clarinet, horn and piano quartet typifies the dullest product of such a style, and Lieberson doesn't succeed in turing the technique to anything elegant as does Boulez. Similarly "Accordance" seems pointless note-spinning. "Fire" (1995), the first of a projected series called "The Five Great Elements", is one of the most derivative pieces I've ever heard. Still, the six-minute "Raising The Gaze" is charming enough, with shimmering percussion and playful hints at birdsong. I similarly enjoyed the closing "Free And Easy Wanderer", with its virtuoso demands on a sinfonietta and individual coverage of each player over its six-minute span.
There are many bits here of exciting music, but my overall impression with the disc is that it's somehow vacuous. It's often technically perfect, but lacks any distinctive personality or real inventiveness. In fact, Lieberson is the only composer that makes me feel as uneasy as does Thomas Ades. Maybe others, especially neophytes to contemporary repertoire, will enjoy RAISING THE GAZE, but I'd recommend sampling the material before committing to buying the disc."