GORDON GETTY (b.1933): Choral-Orchestral Works - The Old Man in the Night, The Old Man in the Morning, Ballet Russe, Shenandoah, There Was a Naughty Boy, Those Who Love the Most, Beauty Come Dancing, For a Dead Lady, The Destruction of Sennacherib, Cynara, La Belle Dame sans Merci.
Catalogue Number: 09U056
Reference: PTC 5186621
Format: SACD hybrid
Description: As we've seen before (05K089, 05T071 etc.) Getty has a special relationship with the human voice - he contemplated becoming a professional singer at one point early in his musical career - and nowhere is this shown to better advantage than in these fine choral settings of poets with whom he feels a particular affinity, with their sumptuous orchestral accompaniments. Getty is a Romantic through and through; had he been born a century earlier he would have fit right in with the pre-Raphaelites and their cohorts throughout the arts, and their idols including Keats, whom he sets twice here. Most of the poems here explore themes of unrequited or distantly recalled loves and beauty fled but passionately celebrated in memory. The composer's style is chordal and harmonic; melismatic, complicated contrapuntal lines are not for him, let alone unusual vocal effects. What he does so very well is the clear presentation of the text, gratefully set for the voices and illustrated with music that faultlessly matches the mood of the narrative and its dramatic content. He is no mean poet himself; the longest song here, and two others are to his own texts. The Old Man in the Night takes up a quarter of the disc in its reflective, autumnal tale of the memory of a past passion as night closes in on an old man's life, while Beauty Come Dancing expands on the themes of its title, making it a perfect foil to Masefield's Ballet Russe. Dowson's Cynara and Keats' Belle Dame sans merci show the composer's range, their darker undertones bringing out searching harmonies and original, descriptive orchestration, while Byron's Assyrian cohorts descend on Jerusalem with fine rhythmic vigor and high romantic drama. Texts included. Netherlands Radio Choir, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra; James Gaffigan.