Compelling contemporary orchestral works by an increasingly lauded composer
East of the Sun and West of the Moon: Orchestral Music of Daniel Crozier – Seattle Symphony cond. by Gerard Schwarz and the Moravian Symphony cond. by Stanislav Vavrinak – Navona CD NV6137 (1/18/2018) TT: 45:00 ****:
East of the Sun West of the Moon contains two works by composer Daniel Crozier. A graduate of the Peabody Conservatory of Music, Crozier currently teaches Theory and Composition at Rollins College. His output includes symphonic music, operas and solo works.
The first piece on the disc is the Symphony no. 1: Triptych for Orchestra. It’s an energetic work, which Crozier says displays his investigations into the narrative story telling power of music. While there is no specific story spelled out, the listener is invited to use their imagination.
The disc also offers Crozier’s Ballade: A tale After the Brothers Grimm. It’s a free wheeling and colorful work, loaded with interesting musical ideas, some unique syncopation, and in both works, some bravura performances by the Seattle Symphony and and the Moravian Symphony.
The recording took place in different venues, one in Seattle’s wonderful Benaroya Hall, and the Reduta Hall in Czechoslovakia. The halls sounded quite similar, although I thought Reduta Hall had a bit more midrange heft. In any event, both recordings are fine ones, and serve the music well, with some solid bass when it is called for, and very nice sparking high frequencies for the strings and percussion.
East of the Sun and West of the Moon is a highly listenable disc from a skilled contemporary composer. I expect we will be hearing more from Dr. Crozier in the coming years as his music is increasingly performed and increasingly appreciated.