Bernstein, Adams, Rouse, Harbison, Torke, Argento, Larsen, Moran, Kernis, Daugherty & Schiff

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Adams,Argento,Bernstein,Daugherty & Schiff,Harbison,Kernis,Larsen,Moran,Rouse,Torke
LABELS: Argo
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Dance Mix
WORKS: Dances by Bernstein, Adams, Rouse, Harbison, Torke, Argento, Larsen, Moran, Kernis, Daugherty & Schiff
PERFORMER: Baltimore SO/David Zinman
CATALOGUE NO: 444 454-2 DDD
This disc is simply sensational – an absolute ‘feel-good’. Dance Mix is 12 tracks of symphonic ‘dance’ by 11 composers, ten alive, all American. Leonard Bernstein’s Mambo (where the Jets and the Sharks assemble for a ‘dance-off’) from West Side Story provides a blazing frame if not a formidable challenge. But the ten other works, starting with John Adams’s show-stopper The Chairman Dances, simply follow each other in an almost ‘anything-you-can-do, I-can-do-better’ vein, with technique flashily worn on sleeves. Particularly impressive are Aaron Jay Kernis’s New Era Dance (written for the New York Philharmonic’s 150th anniversary), which brilliantly evokes the pulsing, rhythmic street music of Washington Heights (police sirens and whistles notwithstanding), John Harbison’s Remembering Gatsby with its ‘rinky-tink’ foxtrot for sax and high-hat cymbal, Michael Torke’s Stravinsky-influenced Charcoal written for the New York City Ballet, Robert Moran’s gently minimalist Points of Departure and Michael Daugherty’s total show-off, Desi. This disc must have been marvellous to record if the exuberance, vitality and energy of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under its music director David Zinman are anything to go by. The orchestra simply dazzles. Just listen to the brass! And the recorded sound is sensational too.

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