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THREE ORCHESTRAL WORKS

Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra

Petr Vronský conductor

Dwight Beckham, Sr.

 

OVERVIEW

 

THREE ORCHESTRAL WORKS BY DWIGHT BECKHAM, SR. marks a tremendous sample of American composer Dwight Beckham’s lyrical style and command of the orchestra. Based in Kansas, Beckham is part of an important generation of composers who, in the latter half of the twentieth century, persisted in their pursuit of a classically Romantic aesthetic. To this end, Beckham’s orchestral music is stalwartly thematic, crisply orchestrated, and centered on dramatic melodic and harmonic ideas.

 

The music on this album demonstrates Beckham is also a facile, expert orchestrator, who can draw any mood with the instruments at hand. In this regard, the album’s longest work, Feather Sound, is the most dynamic. At first plaintive, the piece is enlivened by triumphant percussion and brass, and includes a variety of wonderful textures, particularly in its heavily contrapuntal sections. Feather Sound features an impressive and intricate section dominated by a web of canons, which Beckham deftly illustrates with crystal clear and clever orchestration.

 

Feather Sound also speaks to Beckham’s attraction to lyrical and thematic melodic material, a characteristic that dominates the other works in this collection. Fanfare 40, though brief, features a handful of memorable themes, some stately and others more delicate and charming. Like in Feather Sound, Beckham is cleverly economical here, and uses sections of counterpoint to re-purpose and disguise his ideas, giving the listener the sense that we are hearing something new, when in fact, the opposite is the case. Fanfare 40 also features structurally significant orchestration, as to the two themes at the heart of work are scored very contrastingly.

 

Memorial Ode, the remaining work on the album, again demonstrates Beckham’s skill at painting mood through orchestration. Its contemplative opening, scored simply for solo flute and chimes, is extraordinarily compelling, so much so Beckham meaningfully recalls aspects of this texture later in the piece. The remainder of Memorial Ode is dominated by elegant and glorious re-settings of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Sine nomine” hymn tune, which was a favorite of the work’s dedicatee, Harold Romoser.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

 

Dwight Beckham’s orchestral music is defined by Romantic lyricism and crisp, clear orchestration, which particularly shines in contrapuntal sections

 

Feather Sound, being the longest work, is the most texturally dynamic work on the album, while Fanfare 40 and Memorial Ode are the most classically thematic

 

 

 

ALSO ON NAVONA RECORDS

 

SENSATIONS (nv6041)

Margaret Brandman

Release Date: October 13, 2017

Catalog #: NV6122

 

 

TRACK INFO

 

Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra  |  Petr Vronský conductor

 

1  Fanfare 40

Commissioned in 1996 for the opening of the Newton Mid-Kansas

Symphony Orchestra’s 40th season under the baton of Daniel Hege

 

2  Memorial Ode

Sine nomine by Ralph Vaughan Williams used by permission of the

Oxford University Press

 

Feather Sound (Symphonic Statements)

Commissioned by the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Daniel Hege

3  Statement I

4  Statement II

5  Statement III 

 

CREDITS

 

All tracks recorded March 6, 2017 at Reduta Hall in Olomouc CZ

 

Session Producer Vít Mužík

 

Co-Producer Bob Lord

 

Session Engineers Aleš Dvořák and Jan Košulič

 

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw

A&R Brandon MacNeil

Audio Director Jeff LeRoy

Recording Sessions Manager Levi Brown

Engineering Manager Lucas Paquette

Editing, Mixing & Mastering Shaun Michaud

Design & Marketing Director Brett Picknell

Design Emily Roulo

 

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