BMOP/sound Releases ANTHONY DAVIS: NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND and LEWIS SPRATLAN: APOLLO AND DAPHNE VARIATIONS
Known as the nation's foremost label launched by an orchestra and devoted exclusively to new music, BMOP/sound today announced the April 1st release of two new composer-centric albums: Anthony Davis: Notes from the Underground featuring as soloists composer Anthony Davis (piano), Earl Howard (Kurzweil) and J.D. Parran (clarinets); and Lewis Spratlan: Apollo and Daphne Variations featuring Eliot Gattegno (saxophones). Both albums offer a palette of orchestral colors, expertly rendered by the dauntless and spirited Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) led by conductor Gil Rose.
Anthony Davis: Notes from the Underground features three works of subversive groove by the award-winning composer/pianist Anthony Davis. Proficient in both jazz and classical styles, Davis is known for drawing upon a signature combination of African-American traditions, American Minimalism, and the European and American avant-garde. The eponymous orchestral work Notes from the Underground is dedicated to Ralph Ellison and riffs on Duke Ellington's seminal Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue. Of Notes from the Underground Time Magazine wrote, "imagine Ellington's lush, massed sonorities propelled by Bartók's vigorous whiplash rhythms and overlaid with the seductive percussive haze of the Balinese gamelan orchestra..." Rounding out the album are the polyrhythmic, Balinese- and Javanese-informed Wayang V featuring Davis on piano, and the steadfastly defiant You Have the Right to Remain Silent, featuring clarinetist J.D. Parran and keyboardist Earl Howard.
Lewis Spratlan: Apollo and Daphne Variations features three works by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Lewis Spratlan. It begins with Spratlan's set of evocative orchestral pieces A Summer's Day (which was commissioned and premiered by BMOP in 2009), continues with his highly dramatic Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra showcasing Eliot Gattegno on soprano and tenor saxophones, and culminates with a grand, fiery symphonic work, Apollo and Daphne Variations. Winner at the New England Composers Orchestra Competition for readings of new works, Apollo and Daphne Variations is, as Spratlan describes, "wonderfully danceable and dramatically gripping." The mythologically centered subject illustrates the poignant story of the god Apollo and the nymph Daphne, who turns herself into a tree to escape his advances. According to the Boston Globe, "Spratlan tosses many styles into the blender, from Schumannesque piano writing to vaguely avant-gardish orchestral techniques, but somehow binds it all together with wit and theatrical flair."