PUTS: Sym. No. 2; River’s Rush;, Flute Concerto – Peabody Sym./Alsop – Naxos

EVIN PUTS: Symphony No. 2; River’s Rush; Flute Concerto – Adam Walker, flute;/ Peabody Sym. /Marin Alsop – Naxos American Classics 8.559794 TT:56:36 (8/12/16) ****:

Puts works are moving and the composer is worth keeping your eye and ears on.

Winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for the opera Silent Night, Kevin Puts is surely one of the up and coming composers of his generation. His work has been commissioned and performed by leading orchestras in the United States and abroad, including the New York Philharmonic, the Tonhalle Orchestër (Zurich), the symphony orchestras of Baltimore, Cincinnati, Detroit, Atlanta, Colorado, Houston, Fort Worth, Utah, St. Louis, the Boston Pops, and the Minnesota Orchestra, which commissioned his Sinfonia Concertante, and by leading chamber ensembles such as the Mirò Quartet, the Eroica Trio, eighth blackbird, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

This album gives us Puts’ emotional Symphony No. 2, performed by the Peabody Symphony Orchestra and conductor Marin Alsop. The album will also include Puts’ Flute Concerto, featuring the London Symphony Orchestra’s celebrated principal flutist Adam Walker, and Puts’ toccata for orchestra River’s Rush.

The Symphony No. 2 reflects Puts’ impressions of the changes brought about by the 9/11 attacks. As the composer watched the events unfold on television, he reflected upon the dramatic change in society the attacks brought on. The one movement symphony begins calmly but with some musical ambiguity, and then morphs into highly dynamic music representing the physical and emotional upheaval of the attack.  It’s a fine composition, ably played by the Peabody Symphony.

River’s Rush was inspired by Puts’ time growing up in St. Louis, Missouri around the Mississippi River, and the disc ends with the Flute Concerto, with Adam Walker, principal flutist of the London Symphony Orchestra is the soloist. It’s a lovely and moving work.

Puts’ music is accessible and emotional. If you haven’t heard his music, this disc will make a fine introduction. The Peabody Symphony plays effortlessly, and the recording is nicely balanced and dynamic. Puts is a composer worth following, and I recommend this disc.

—Mel Martin

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