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Boyer: Symphony No.1

1.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Feb. 25 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • In-Print Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #88,374 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

The second Naxos recording of music by Peter Boyer, one of America's most frequently performed contemporary classical composers. His GRAMMY-nominated Ellis Island: The Dream of America can be heard on Naxos 8.559246.

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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Boyer makes the LSO sound like a symphonic band.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa7a0ceb8) out of 5 stars 54 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa79cfc60) out of 5 stars Spectacular music from a fine composer Feb. 25 2014
By Classical music admirer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Boyer's music demonstrates influences from important American symphonic composers such as Copland, Bernstein, and Williams, as well as American "neo-Romantic" composers like Barber and Hanson; while hearkening back in some ways to these earlier American composers, his music nonetheless has its own compelling voice. His Symphony No. 1 may be his most ambitious purely musical (non-programmatic) work to date, and is a worthy addition to the canon of American symphonies.

Boyer has a strong lyrical/melodic gift, a quality not often seen in contemporary American orchestral music (outside of cinema music, which is a clear influence on his work). Though his music is "accessible," and does not favor astringent dissonances or experimental approaches, it is extremely well-crafted, and bears repeated listenings. His music often has great rhythmic vitality, and he handles mixed meters in a compelling way; the "Scherzo/Dance" of the Symphony No. 1, which is in a very unusual 13/8 meter, is still very dance-like. Boyer is a superb orchestrator, with total command of the large orchestral forces he employs, and a colorful and varied approach to orchestration (including strong brass writing).

Three of Boyer's shorter works, "Silver Fanfare", "Celebration Overture", and "Festivities", demonstrate his skills at crafting exuberant concert openers. "Three Olympians" for string orchestra, inspired by three of the Greek gods of Olympus, demonstrates Boyer's idiomatic writing for strings, and has a "Brittenesque" influence; "Aphrodite" features one of his most lyrical melodies.

The London Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the worldʼs premiere recording ensembles, and performs brilliantly under the composerʼs baton. Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, the recorded sound is excellent. Overall, this is a powerful recording, and a strong addition to the Naxos American Classics Series.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa83e5a98) out of 5 stars (Peter Boyer's American Exuberance) + (Old World Precision of the London Philharmonic) = One World Class CD Feb. 25 2014
By Glenn A. Pickett - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This new Naxos collection of Peter Boyer’s music is one of his best.

Conducted by the composer, the London Philharmonic Orchestra (L.P.O.) takes the highly rhythmic and complex energy of Boyer’s American music and presents it with aplomb that is rare. This orchestra brings an old world precision (keep calm and carry on) to Boyer’s American exuberance that reminds us again of just what a great, modern symphonic orchestra is truly capable of. It’s obvious that both Boyer and the L.P.O. care if you listen.

Of special note in this collection is Boyer’s first symphony, recently commissioned and premiered by the Pasadena (CA) Symphony. Although the work’s harmonic universe is highly tonal, the first movement is surprisingly, not in sonata form. Rather, it pays homage, and gives a post-minimalist twist, to an even older tonal form, the fugue.

If the first movement had been written in sonata form, the third movement could very well serve as its secondary theme. Boyer’s growing command of orchestration, prevalent throughout this work, truly shines here. A long, beautifully sweeping melody first unfolds in the lower parts of the orchestra. Then, like the progressing sunlight of the day, it warms the other sections of the orchestra until the entire ensemble blossoms into a fragrant display of sonic color.

Is there a future repertoire for the symphonic orchestra beyond the cyclical performing of the great masters of the past that audiences will listen to? Yes, and Boyer is helping to pave the road to that future with his music. Thank you to Naxos for bringing us another Peter Boyer album.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa82969c0) out of 5 stars Substantial and expertly crafted music Feb. 25 2014
By Karim Elmahmoudi - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This new disc from Naxos opens with a blazing performance of Peter Boyer's "Silver Fanfare" full of exciting brass fanfares. Celebratory music fits Boyer well as we hear on 2011's Festivities. These serve as major showpieces for orchestras. The "Three Olympians" is scored for strings where each movement represents a mythological Greek god in terms of character description. The music is virtuosic, warm and always engaging. The earliest work on this disc is the "Celebration Overture" which further demonstrates the composer's range of exciting fanfares and contrasting long melodies which are developed into large climaxes. The newest work on the disc is the Symphony No. 1 from 2013 which has three substantial movements. Immediately, one recognizes the scale and canvas is larger and the ideas developed over time into a grand finale of considerable weight.

The recording, performances, and interpretation are all top notch. This disc is highly recommended to anyone who enjoy sweeping American lyricism such as Leonard Bernstein, John Williams, and Aaron Copeland.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa793de88) out of 5 stars An American Classic: Peter Boyer Feb. 25 2014
By L3Music - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Propulsive, vivacious, blazing, fresh, and quintessentially, American. Composer and conductor, Peter Boyer, does not disappoint with this new album. Recorded at Abbey Road under the direction of the composer, the London Philharmonic Orchestra does a beautiful job bringing the vibrant music of Boyer’s to life with a brilliance and virtuosity that only the ensemble can.

All of the pieces on this album compliment one another. Boyer takes you on a musical journey beginning with Silver Fanfare and ending with his first symphony, Symphony No. 1. The piece, Festivities, is a musical treasure that I am sure will become an orchestral standard.

Boyer saves the best for last. Symphony No. 1 exemplifies the composer’s craft, creativity, inspirations, and individual compositional voice. Listening to this work, one comes away with the impression that this piece represents Boyer himself.

For those who wish to learn more about great contemporary American composers, this album is a great introduction.

Welcome to the musical world of Peter Boyer!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa7cf0abc) out of 5 stars The New Populist: American Optimism March 1 2014
By Dr. Debra Jan Bibel - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Peter Boyer's earlier Naxos release, Ellis Island, was a Grammy finalist, but that single work, an oratorio, does not represent his popular composition style as well as this new album, which features the composer himself leading the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Boyer's music speaks of current culture, borrowing much from cinema to the point of threatening parody, and I recall artist Andy Warhol. The album opens with a bang. The first selection, from 2004, is Silver Fanfare for brass and orchestra, the first movement of six of his On Music's Wings (not included). If that rousing flourish was insufficient, the next work, Festivities (2011) carries on the strong presentation with cheer, lush melody, deep harmony and strong rhythm. The brass leave the stage for a string orchestral rendition of Three Olympians (2000), which are Apollo, Aphrodite, and Ares. Boyer's interest of mythological symbols was translated to some powerful musical representations of harmony, lyricism, and rhythm. His romantic approach, filling the shoes of Aaron Copland as America's new populist, continues with another bright orchestral opening, his Celebration Overture (1997/2001). It is one of his earliest commissions, which was for the Henry Mancini Institute young musician training program. It commences in anticipation, increases in volume and tempo, and blossoms into a brass and piano exposition of joy; mid way it slows and quiets to reflection but arises again to a fanfare conclusion. The major selection is the three-movement Symphony 1, hot off the press (2012/2013). Here is an American symphony that brings to mind Howard Hanson and Samuel Barber with the exuberance of Leonard Bernstein. The Prelude is much like Boyer's festive pieces but concludes tranquilly and thoughtfully. The Scherzo/Dance has the expected swirling, energetic flow at the outset, shifts to a slower. lyrical dance, and returns to fast and bright rhythms (12 and 13 note, 3-beat patterns). The final Adagio, the longest section, provides a slow thematic development with orchestral sections offering rich harmonies and textures: horn and trumpet dialogue, string quartet, harp and celeste treble ornamentation, leading to the crescendo of full orchestral statement. Boyer thus far presents direct affirmative musical forms lacking deep complexity and postmodern edginess, but this is a good thing as he fills a gap in classical Americana long empty. We can leave the symphonic hall feeling good and optimistic.

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