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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Made to Measure Music, 30 July 2010
By 
Nobody "Alan Boyes" (Newcastle, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Jennifer Higdon: City Scape; Concerto for Orchestra (Audio CD)
The music on this disc is given a top class performance by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra under Robert Spano.

Both works are effectively showpieces for the orchestra and, particularly with the Concerto, they sound scintillating at times. Many critics have praised this recording lavishly whilst others have been left completely cold by it, suggesting that the music lacks any depth or substance. It is particularly notable that Jennifer Higdon has had great success in the USA but her works have been less enthusiastically received elsewhere - perhaps the American know something that the rest don't.

That makes it very difficult to write a helpful review when the pieces seem to polarise responses. I have given it four stars largely because of the excellent performnces and the music's surface colour but I have some reservations about the two works - the Concerto for Orchestra particularly. I can understand, however, why some may like them.

what is likeable is:-
1. Both works are energetic and colourfully scored. It will sound very exciting on first hearing.
2. The Concerto echoes the form of Bartok's Concerto.
3. The musical language is easily accessible sounding like a very busy and colourful version of Hindemith combined with some American muscle. The City Scape has echoes of Copland with a bit Stravinsky thrown in. It is a little less showy than the Concerto, understandably, but with a little more expressive weight.
4. The music is held together by a strong physical momentum as the material is passed through the orchestral sections in waves - particularly in the Concerto. Apparently the players love it.
5. Performance and sonics are top class.

What are my reservations? Colourful as the material may be it is perculiarly unmemorable, particularly in the hyperactive Concerto. The music sounds exciting at first but neither very original or with any thematic development. For works written in such a traditional language this is frustrating. It relies too much on first impressions and could be accused of being more concerned with surface gloss rather than any depth.

There's certainly nothing to offend in this music and with such a fine recording you might wish to take a risk and purchase.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Bright exciting music, 26 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Jennifer Higdon: City Scape; Concerto for Orchestra (Audio CD)
From a composer one would never have heard of unless you read the late lamented Penguin Guide. OK there are strong links to the Copland style of America orchestral music but it is original enough to grab your ears
A considerable bargain
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Jennifer Higdon: City Scape; Concerto for Orchestra
Jennifer Higdon: City Scape; Concerto for Orchestra by Jennifer Higdon (Audio CD - 2008)
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