Ms Higdon seems to be aiming for an urban Copland feel but gets closer to the Copland of Rodeo and Billy the Kid than either the great 3rd symphony or appalachian springs. This is largely noisy music which whilst exuberant and dramatic, is so almost by the numbers. I couldn't sense either a strong voice or one with something much to say or with any new ways of expressing what she does say. Almost instantly forgettable and disposable.
Not so the recording, which is stunning - vivid, open and compelling in a way the music is not. Excellent m/c sound with a powerful sense of atmosphere.
The Atlanta O play as well as ever but seem more efficient than inspired, despite their conductors avowed commitment to both composer and music.
The relatively high rating applies to the sound and the performances but is definitely no indication of my response to the music.