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|1. Music for orchestra|
|2. Christus Apollo|
The two orchestral pieces that bookend the cantata present a study in the evolution of Goldsmith's style. Music for Orchestra, written in 1970, is another 12-tone piece and works very much as a complement to Christus Apollo. By contrast, 1999's Fireworks is a representative example of Goldsmith's modern and comparatively simpler approach, where his earlier avant-garde notions have been abandoned in favour of driving rhythms and pleasantly catchy melodies. The LSO under the composer's baton are on sparkling form throughout, and the recording, by Goldsmith's regular collaborator Bruce Botnick, is a model of clarity. --Mark Walker
All works here are commissions. The first, as other reviewers have implied, invokes Planet of the Apes and Alex North's 2001. Very discordant and atonal, the piece will saisify anyone who loved Planet of the Apes.
Christus Apollo, which forms the core of the recording, is the penultimate of his genius. With Ray Bradbury supplying the words and the lovely narration by Anthony Hopkins, the genius of Apollo is brought to life and the mind is filled with images of man striding the heavens to fulfill his destiny.
The last piece is one that shows that Goldsmith can write with such beauty and poetry that can bring tears to the eye, which Fireworks did when I first heard it. It is Blue Max brought to the 90's and invokes one to think of looking to the sky and seeing what is there and what can be. Fireworks is well worth the price of the whole thing to me and is a must in any Goldsmith fans collection.
The three pieces on this disc give a good cross-section of musical styles. Although Goldsmith states that he composed "Music for Orchestra" and CHRISTUS APOLLO using 12-tone techniques, his strong lyricism and signature treatment imbue both works with an immediate accessibility seldom found in serial music. He also is able to create quite different worlds in each, the first being tumultuous and the second being devotional in nature.
"Music for Orchestra" was written during a time of personal distress, and Goldsmith channelled this into his composition. It is a firestorm of sound. Goldsmith's confident direction and the London Symphony Orchestra's strong playing combine to give a powerful performance.
The title work of this disc is a four-movement cantata based on a text by Ray Bradbury. Written in 1969, CHRISTUS APOLLO brings Christian mysticism into the Space Age. The musings by the narrator of what a Christ would experience on another planet are answered by the chorus and mezzo soprano. This interplay of voices celebrates the universal nature of the divine. Goldsmith's music gives a sense of timelessness to the work, sounding simultaneously modern and ancient. Anthony Hopkins' smooth reading of the narrator and Eirian James' rich mezzo blend well with the London Voices' mesmerizing presentation.
"Fireworks" was written as a finale piece for Goldsmith's first concert series with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl-complete with fireworks, surprisingly enough. It evolved to become a celebratory work commemorating Los Angeles, his home town. The joyous nature of his feelings are readily apparent. It is an exuberant work that brings the disc to a brilliant close.
This disc is a continuation of Jerry Goldsmith's tradition of great music. Whether you are a novice to his music or a die-hard fan (like me), this music will inspire. It is another reason in a long list of why Jerry Goldsmith is one of the great musical voices of our time.