KEVIN PUTS (b.1972): Symphony No. 2, Flute Concerto, River’s Rush.
Catalogue Number: 08S008
Description: The Second Symphony was written in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, on which it is a powerful and moving musical commentary. Avoiding hystrionics, the work deals with the psychological paradigm shift occasioned by the horrific events of that day. The opening section builds an innocent, blissful mood, reminiscent of Nielsen at his most sunnily optimistic. In an instant of convulsive paroxysm this is banished to be replaced by a shadowy, fearful re-examination of the same material. The tension rises, the music crescendoes as though about to be overwhelmed by the recollection of the tragedy, but a solo violin pleads, as it were, with the orchestra to re-establish a sense of hope, and the work ends striving for the mood of the opening. River's Rush is like a post-minimalist reimagining of Smetana's Vltava, progressing rapidly through unexpected sequences of keys to suggest the constantly changing moods of a mighty river in different landscapes, light and shadow. The elegant and melodious (and in the last movement, mischievous) Flute Concerto reflects Puts' admiration for Mozart; the slow movement begins and ends as a kind of paraphrase of that of the K.467 piano concerto before going its own way. Like the other works here, the concerto is tonal and very accessible and emotionally involving. Adam Walker (flute), Peabody Symphony Orchestra; Marin Alsop.