MICHAEL DAUGHERTY (b.1954): Metropolis Symphony, Deux ex Machina for Piano and Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 10L011
Description: Literally "cartoon music", Metropolis was inspired by the 50th anniversary of the first Superman DC Comics issue in 1988. If you've never heard it (and the Argo CD is long, long out of print), this is probably the piece that most established Daugherty's style which "expresses the energies, ambiguities, paradoxes and wit of American popular culture". It's non-programmatic but its movement titles suggest Superman characters: "Lex" (Luthor) - an energetic mini violin concerto, "Krypton" - microtones and glissandi with prominent percussion, "MXYZPTLK" - the scherzo, named after an imp from the fifth dimension, "Oh, Lois!" - almost a second scherzo with the tempo indication "faster than a speeding bullet", and "Red Cape Tango". A three-movement work from 2007, Deus ex Machina is inspired by trains: the locomotives of Italian futurism and Surreal artists ("Fast Forward"), a long dirge ("Train of Tears") suggested by Abraham Lincoln's funeral train with "Taps" intertwined with an original melody and "Night Steam", a programmatic portrait of America's last steam locomotives rumbling and whistling their way into extinction. Terrence Wilson (piano), Nashville Symphony; Giancarlo Guerrero.