CARL VINE (b.1954): Symphony No. 4.2, Piano Concerto, Choral Symphony.
Catalogue Number: 05P010
Label: ABC Classics
Reference: 456 698-2
Description: In the symphony - the title refers to the 1998 revision - distinct sections within the continuous twenty minute arc of the work suggest the outline of a conventional symphonic structure, charting a course from conflict to consolation, or darkness to light. The music is characterized by a restless dynamism, allied with some remarkably original orchestration. Vine's idiom is based on strongly defined tonal centers and harmony, with a buoyant unpredictability to its determinedly directional harmonic movement. Disguised references to the Dies irae dominate the opening movement, which along with the alternating dissonant disquiet and obsessively propulsive vehemence suggests if not a program, then certainly a narrative of conflict, somewhat resolved in the work's calmer later stages. After a grandly imposing introduction, the ensuing four movements of the Choral Symphony approximate a traditional symphonic layout, with the central movements sharing characteristics of exhilarating, driven scherzi and ethereal slow movements, suspended in mystery. The character of the music takes its cues from the ancient texts - a creation myth and hymns to the Earth, Moon and Sun. The themes ingeniously sound as though they might be based on traditional sacred chant or plainsong, investing the choral passages with an aura of ancient devotional observance. The concerto is a splendid, highly appealing specimen of the genre. It not infrequently recalls Prokofiev and Ravel, whose harmonic language Vine's most closely resembles among the standard repertoire concerto composers, while witty asides suggest Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich and various others. But this is not a parody or pastiche, but a superbly executed homage to the great virtuoso concertante warhorses in the form of a thoroughly original work that could join their company without embarrassment. Akkadian (cuneiform), Ancient Greek-English texts. Michael Kieran Harvey (piano), Sydney Philharmonia Motet Choir, Sydney Symphony Orchestra; Edo de Waart. 2000 release.