HOWARD SHORE (b.1946): A Palace Upon the Ruins for Soprano and Ensemble (German-English texts. Jennifer Johnson Cano [soprano], Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival), Peace for Choir and Organ (Esssential Voices USA Youth Workshop; Judith Clurman with Benjamin Hutto [organ]), The Garden for Choir (21st Century Chamber Choir; Ludwig Wicki), 6 Pieces: I for Piano and Strings (no artists credited), II for String Quartet (Kronos Quartet), III for 10 Cellos, IV for Strings, V for Mezzo-Soprano and 10 Cellos (Clara Sanabras [mezzo]), VI for Strings RTÉ Concert Orchestra; Wicki), Catania for Piano (Lang Lang).
Catalogue Number: 12S064
Label: Howe Records
Description: If you watch big-budget, high profile movies at all you're familiar with Shore's opulent, sweeping film scores (Lord of the Rings, Silence of the Lambs, most David Cronenberg, a good handful of Scorsese's, etc. etc.). Well, it turns out that Shore isn't one of those film composers who goes all atonal and serial when they get home from their day job. These luscious, sumptuous works for a variety of ensembles fit right in with what you've already heard; very tonal, gorgeously scored, memorable and original. The song cycle, to image-laden poetry by writer and film-maker Elizabeth Cotnoir (Shore's wife, though the booklet is coy on this point), is lushly neo-romantic, as are the two inspirational choral settings, one with impressive organ interludes and the vaguely Chopinesque piano piece. The Six Pieces (all for different groups) run the gamut from edgily chromatic (the first) to movements that didn't make it into the Lord of the Rings soundtrack (the third and fifth), and various points between (the second, fourth and sixth).