HARRY FREEDMAN (1922-2005): Borealis (Toronto Children’s Chorus, Swedish Radio Choir, Elmer Iseler Singers, Danish National Radio Choir, Toronto Symphony Orchestra; Jukka-Pekka Saraste. rec. 1997), Graphic IX: for Harry Somers, Manipulating Mario (Esprit Orchestra; Alex Pauk. rec. 2002 and 2005), Indigo (Composers’ Orchestra; Gary Kulesha. rec. 2008), Images (Toronto SO; Andrew Davis. rec. 1979).
Catalogue Number: 02S072
Reference: CMCCD 23517
Description: A composer who drew from a wide range of influences and styles yet remains approachable in all of them, Freedman wrote extensively and impressively for the orchestra. The bold, dramatic colors of film music, the more delicate shades of impressionism, and mid-20th century post-romantic modernism rub shoulders in a readily accessible idiom. Borealis is a large tone-poem with choir adding texture with 'an abstraction of various aboriginal languages', in which towering Messiaenic chords punctuate a vast, mysterious landscape. Indigo, 'a kind of blue' is, by contrast, kind of bluesy - and clever, and a lot of fun - employing jazz cliches subjected to various sophisticated compositional devices. Graphic IX alternates dense harmony and ethereal washes of texture in an evocation of Japanese brush and ink painting. Mario is a 'symphonic fantasia', so to speak, on Freedman's friend and colleague Harry Somers' opera Mario and the Magician; Somers was also a composer with a wide stylistic range, but the material, and thus the result of this posthumously collaborative piece is thoroughly tonal and post-romantic. Images - thirty years earlier than anything else here - comprises three impressions of paintings, in an extrovertly dramatic, very neo-romantic, atmospheric style.