The fourth AGP installment features music by Jacob Druckman--one of the top American composers of his generation. Druckman is highly regarded for his sense of timbre and sound combination. He produced many brilliant orchestrations in a style somewhat reminiscent of Luciano Berio's. His electroacoustic compositions also explored a rich tonal pallet, largely avoiding the more hackneyed electronic sounds of that time.
The first two tracks make up the two sides of the Nonesuch LP H-71253, which was one of the first electroacoustic records that I came to love. ANIMUS III is an electroacoustic work that derives its sound material largely from Arthur Bloom's clarinet playing. It has an incredibly rich and complex sound, yet largely mellifluous owing to the use of clarinet as sound source. synapse>VALENTINE combines electronic and acoustic sound sources instead by laying them aside one another: synapse is a purely electronic commentary on VALENTINE, which is for solo double bass without electronic manipulation. Incenters is a work from 1968, written shortly after Druckman rejected serialism. It is scored for 13 musicians (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, violin, viola, cello, double bass, piano and electric organ, and percussion), and was released on volume III of the Spectrum: New American Music series on Nonesuch Records (H-71221). Lamia is a work for soprano and orchestra based on texts related to magic. It was written for the gifted mezzo soprano Jan de Gaetani, who performs it in this recording (Louisville Orchestra First Editions Records LS-764). My favorite movement is the third, which is representative of Druckman's luxuriant orchestral style of the mid-1970's.
In preparing this installment, I had to exclude a number of other favorite compositions by Druckman, because they are still in print. I can particularly recommend his orchestral works Windows (for which he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1972) and Aureole (1979), and his second string quartet (his last serialist composition, from 1966). I believe they are all available on CD through Amazon.com or elsewhere.
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