Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Majestic dvd

This year marks the 51st season of the Grand Teton Music Festival. In celebration of their 50th season, they commissioned Pulitzer and Grammy Award winning composer Jennifer Higdon. Now that world premiere performance, along with Beethoven's Pastorale Symphony, is available as a DVD/CD set from the festival.
The Grand Teton Music Festival is one of the most prestigious and finest musical gatherings in the world. Musicians from around North America come together by invitation and play under maestros ranging from (music director) Donald Runnicles to Bernard Labadie, and soloists such as Lynn Harrell, James Ehnes, and Stephen Hough.
So when you mix excellent new music to this fun and eclectic band of musicians, it is completely inspiring, for both the listener and the orchestra!
Clare and Higdon
All Things Majestic is about 20 minutes long and is in four movements. Teton Range sets the mood perfectly, mostly relying on the brass, but using the full orchestra to good use, for a true "maestoso." Not since Hovhaness' Second Symphony have chords struck so true for such a landscape! The second movement, String Lake, aptly features the string section, and even outdoes Smetana (Moldau) and Debussy (La Mer) for colors with a water theme. At this point, I have to mention the images from the dvd. They are spectacular scenes from Henry Holdsworth, Thomas Mangelsen, and Edward Riddell! Pictures run the gamut, and range in season, color, wildlife, day, night, and everything in between. Snake River continues the charming score by Higdon, using percussion and woodwinds to begin and returning to full orchestra, a scherzo for this all but in name symphony. Cathedrals, the finale, returns musically and visually to the mountains -and serves as a perfect peak to this modern masterwork.
Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 "Pastorale" is given a fine reading by the orchestra and Runnicles. This time for the dvd, steady video is shown of various nature scenes - far less compelling visually than All Things Majestic's awesome photos - but musically moving.

Here is a link to an interview and the entire All Things Majestic performance from Wyoming PBS.
We recommend this new release highly with the chance to see and hear the music on dvd and cd (http://www.gtmf.org/merchandise/). Bravo!!!
- host John Clare

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