Both of the works by the two younger composers here are having their world premiere recordings on this disc. And both were premiered for the Atlanta audience in concert about a year ago – a rare occurrence. Del Tredici has moved on from his fixation on works tied-in with Alice in Wonderland and come up with a rousing choral/orchestral work which should be popular with performers and audiences alike. The soprano soloist is amplified and the percussion section of the large orchestra is beefed up with bongos, wind machines, a whip and birdcalls. The composer explains that the work is his personal reaction to 9/11. This pivotal event in the American Revolution is a setting of Longfellow’s complete poem, and it’s given plenty of galloping support from the chorus and orchestra.
Theofanidis became known to many music lovers and collectors for his work Rainbow Body (on Telarc CD-80596 & SACD-60007). He teaches at The Peabody Conservatory and the Juilliard School. He reports that the work is not intended to have a direct connection with 9/11, but his use of the poetry of the mystic Rumi grows out of increased public interest in Islamic culture. The focus of the texts used in the 13 short segments of the work is on love and spiritual growth. The translations are by the professor responsible for the recent explosion of interest in Rumi – Coleman Barks, who published most of the English versions along with interpretations of Rumi’s life and thought. Theofanidis set only small portions of the poems which especially spoke to him. Many are little humorous parables. The music is very tonal and often thrilling in its very effective setting of Rumi’s words. The surround presentation adds to the listener’s involvement in the music and texts, especially at the major climaxes.
— John Sunier