ANDREW WAGGONER (b.1960): Violin Concerto (Michael Lim [violin]), Piano Concerto (Gloria Chang [piano]), Guitar Concerto (Kenneth Mayer [guitar]).
Catalogue Number: 09V066
Description: Waggoner has developed a personal idiom that espouses a bracing, unapologetic form of modernity, challenging enough to demand the listener's full attention but thoroughly approachable, dynamic and expressive and with frequent tonal referents. These three concerti followed in close succession a couple of years after his concerto for four cellos and orchestra, Stretched on the Beauty (as yet unrecorded), and derive some features from it. An interval, chord, or pedal note serves as an anchor in all the works, and recurring material, sometimes fragmented and transformed, interacts with, and represents, the effects of memory (this gives the disc its title, borrowed from the piano concerto's finale). The Violin Concerto obsesses about the interval of a fifth, which acts almost as an object of contention between soloist and ensemble, whose changing relationship is defined by their treatment of this basic material, first drawing together, then in opposition, then going their separate ways. The piece is infused with restless dynamism throughout. The Piano Concerto's first movement is decorated by insistent, but not repeating, arpeggiated figuration from the soloist, which recurs in 'memory-abbreviated' form in the finale. The slow movement is the work’s heart, a profound meditation on forgiveness subtitled by a quotation from Whitman’s "Reconciliation". The mechanistically jaunty finale is an appropriately unsentimental in memoriam for Waggoner's colleague Steven Stucky. Although it resembles the Violin Concerto in its moderate-fast-slow tripartite structure, the Guitar Concerto is a darker work; in the first movement the soloist is often underpinned by the orchestra's most cavernous, tenebrous registers, and the fleet scherzo that follows has an abrasive edge. The spare, elegiac finale seeks, and seems to find, the 'reconciliation' referred to in the Piano Concerto's second movement, though not without some pained reflection and memories along the way. Seattle Modern Orchestra; Julia Tai.