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WORKS: Celebration Overture; Titanic; Three Olympians; The Phoenix; Ghosts of Troy; New Beginnings
CATALOGUE NO: 3-7523-2
Peter Boyer, 30 last year, studied in his native Rhode Island, at the University of Hartford, and with John Corigliano, and now lives in California. He names among his influences John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith; he can set a scene or create a mood rapidly and unambiguously; he writes with great flair for big orchestras. His manifest destiny is to compose music for Hollywood blockbusters. But, while waiting for the call from the major studios, he has composed several pieces for various American orchestras of unarguable effectiveness if rather less originality. Of this selection, Ghosts of Troy is probably the best, a suite of short movements (or cues) inspired by Homer’s Iliad. New Beginnings, written for the opening of a hospital, ends in mini-series bombast. The least convincing piece, and apparently (wouldn’t you know it?) the most popular, is Titanic, an all-too-literal tone poem incorporating undigested chunks of ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’ and ‘Nearer, My God, to Thee’ as if Charles Ives had never existed. Under the composer’s direction, the London Symphony Orchestra plays like the thoroughbred soundtrack band it has so often been; the recording is mixed with artificially shifting perspectives more characteristic of film scores than of serious concert music. Anthony Burton