Danielpour: Concerto for Orchestra; Anima mundi

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COMPOSERS: Danielpour
LABELS: Sony
WORKS: Concerto for Orchestra; Anima mundi
PERFORMER: Pittsburgh SO/David Zinman
CATALOGUE NO: SK 62822
Sony’s first release in a series devoted to the music of Richard Danielpour (b1956) features works completed in 1995 and 1996; the recording of the Concerto for Orchestra was made nearly a year before its concert premiere on 16 May this year. Such prompt and thorough attention to the work of a composer barely into his forties is hardly common practice by major record companies, but Danielpour may well deserve the special treatment.

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‘It seemed to me that I already knew this music,’ wrote an overwhelmed Baudelaire on first hearing Tannhäuser. Some may respond to Danielpour’s magnetically accessible music with a similar sense of recognition, even if only because his self-confessed eclecticism spouts references to a mélange of styles and individual pieces. Stravinsky (The Rite of Spring in particular) casts a long shadow, for example, and ‘Lacrime rerum’ – the second movement of the ballet score Anima mundi – aptly incorporates calamitous, despairing gestures from Mahler’s Ninth. In the end, however, Danielpour’s expert rhythmic and motivic manipulation, intuitive feeling for colour and drama, and organic control of momentum and structure weave this crazy quilt of things remembered into sustained, eloquent utterance. David Zinman and the Pittsburgh Symphony endorse this music with fervent, spirited playing. David Breckbill