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Marin Alsop|Kevin Puts : To Touch the Sky - If I Were a Swan - Symphony No.  4

Kevin Puts : To Touch the Sky - If I Were a Swan - Symphony No. 4

Conspirare & Craig Hella Johnson - Baltimore Symphony Orchestra & Marin Alsop

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Michigan-raised composer Kevin Puts has been touted as a successor to John Corigliano, as a composer whose music is tonal and accessible, but reflects the values of serious composition. This release of his music by the major Harmonia Mundi USA label should come as welcome news to his supporters, and those curious about his music after his 2012 reception of the Pulitzer Prize for music may find it an attractive sampler (it consists of two separate performances of Puts' music, recorded in different places and different times). The two a cappella choral works, If I Were a Swan and To Touch the Sky, are both set to poetry by women; the latter work is a collection of poems from various times and places touching loosely on the "divine feminine." Whether the specificities of these poems can be subsumed so broadly is open to debate, but Puts' style is undeniably attractive. He uses pedal points to anchor the sound, building stacks of harmony around and above them; with the pedal in the background, these can be very closely shaded to reflect ideas in the text, and the overall effect is quite persuasive. The work of the Texas vocal group Conspirare is impressive, and they are very clearly recorded in an Austin church that until now has not been known as an audiophile venue; this is impressive work all around. The other half of the program is not quite as successful and somehow fails to make a satisfying whole when combined with the choral works; the Symphony No. 4 ("From Mission San Juan") is said to be based on Native American musical materials from the area of the mission in California that commissioned the work. The symphony, performed by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and its indefatigable conductor, Marin Alsop, features a sort of jockeying between these materials and the hymn tunes of white colonizers, but it is questionable whether anyone other than a well-briefed listener would extract the program successfully. Still, on the strength of the choral pieces here, the forecasts about Puts seem to be coming true.
© TiVo

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Kevin Puts : To Touch the Sky - If I Were a Swan - Symphony No. 4

Marin Alsop

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If I Were A Swan (Kevin Puts)

1
If I Were A Swan
Conspirare
00:06:22

Conspirare (Craig Hella Johnson)

2013 harmonia mundi usa harmonia mundi 2013

To Touch the Sky (Kevin Puts)

2
I. Annunciation (Magnificat)
Conspirare
00:03:12

Conspirare (Craig Hella Johnson)

2013 harmonia mundi usa harmonia mundi usa 2013

3
II. Unbreakable
Conspirare
00:02:23

Conspirare (Craig Hella Johnson)

2013 harmonia mundi usa harmonia mundi usa 2013

4
III. The Fruit of Silence
Conspirare
00:01:20

Conspirare (Craig Hella Johnson)

2013 harmonia mundi usa harmonia mundi usa 2013

5
IV. Falling Snow
Conspirare
00:01:17

Conspirare (Craig Hella Johnson)

2013 harmonia mundi usa harmonia mundi usa 2013

6
V. At Castle Wood
Conspirare
00:05:43

Conspirare (Craig Hella Johnson)

2013 harmonia mundi usa harmonia mundi usa 2013

7
VI. Epitaph
Conspirare
00:01:06

Conspirare (Craig Hella Johnson)

2013 harmonia mundi usa harmonia mundi usa 2013

8
VII. Who has seen the wind?
Conspirare
00:00:51

Conspirare (Craig Hella Johnson)

2013 harmonia mundi usa harmonia mundi usa 2013

9
VIII. With my two arms
Conspirare
00:01:27

Conspirare (Craig Hella Johnson)

2013 harmonia mundi usa harmonia mundi usa 2013

10
IX. Most noble evergreen
Conspirare
00:07:37

Conspirare (Craig Hella Johnson)

2013 harmonia mundi usa harmonia mundi usa 2013

Symphony N° 4 (Kevin Puts)

11
I. Prelude: Mission San Juan Bautista, ca.1800
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
00:05:50

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra - Marin Alsop, Conductor

2013 harmonia mundi usa harmonia mundi usa 2013

12
II. Arriquetpon (the diary of Francisco Arroyo de la Cuesta, 1818)
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
00:08:02

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra - Marin Alsop, Conductor

2013 harmonia mundi usa harmonia mundi usa 2013

13
III. Interlude
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
00:06:11

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra - Marin Alsop, Conductor

2013 harmonia mundi usa harmonia mundi usa 2013

14
IV. Healing Song
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
00:08:22

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra - Marin Alsop, Conductor

2013 harmonia mundi usa harmonia mundi usa 2013

Descriptif de l'album

Michigan-raised composer Kevin Puts has been touted as a successor to John Corigliano, as a composer whose music is tonal and accessible, but reflects the values of serious composition. This release of his music by the major Harmonia Mundi USA label should come as welcome news to his supporters, and those curious about his music after his 2012 reception of the Pulitzer Prize for music may find it an attractive sampler (it consists of two separate performances of Puts' music, recorded in different places and different times). The two a cappella choral works, If I Were a Swan and To Touch the Sky, are both set to poetry by women; the latter work is a collection of poems from various times and places touching loosely on the "divine feminine." Whether the specificities of these poems can be subsumed so broadly is open to debate, but Puts' style is undeniably attractive. He uses pedal points to anchor the sound, building stacks of harmony around and above them; with the pedal in the background, these can be very closely shaded to reflect ideas in the text, and the overall effect is quite persuasive. The work of the Texas vocal group Conspirare is impressive, and they are very clearly recorded in an Austin church that until now has not been known as an audiophile venue; this is impressive work all around. The other half of the program is not quite as successful and somehow fails to make a satisfying whole when combined with the choral works; the Symphony No. 4 ("From Mission San Juan") is said to be based on Native American musical materials from the area of the mission in California that commissioned the work. The symphony, performed by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and its indefatigable conductor, Marin Alsop, features a sort of jockeying between these materials and the hymn tunes of white colonizers, but it is questionable whether anyone other than a well-briefed listener would extract the program successfully. Still, on the strength of the choral pieces here, the forecasts about Puts seem to be coming true.
© TiVo

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