GORDON GETTY Orchestral Music = Overture “Plump Jack;” Ancestor Suite; Tiefer und Tiefer; Homework Suite; The Fiddler of Ballykeel; Raise the Colors – Academy of St. Martin in the Fields/ Sir Neville Marriner – PentaTone multichannel SACD PTC 5186 356, [Distr. by Naxos] 60:22 ****:
The vocal works of San Francisco-based Gordon Getty have been the major part of his compositional ouevre as well as previous recordings. So it is a change of pace here to focus strictly on the instrumental music of this composer who proclaims himself ”two-thirds 19th century.” He writes in an essentially conservative style while observing: “there’s still a great deal to be said in C Major.” His father was the oil tycoon J. Paul Getty.
The opening overture is from probably his best-known work, his opera on Shakespeare’s fat and funny character Falstaff. It is filled with good humor, but ends with a baleful sound representing Prince Hal’s banishment of Falstaff. The 11 short sections of the Ancestor Suite are from a Getty ballet which was premiered in Moscow in 2009 and is based on the 1839 Poe short story The Fall of the House of Usher. Some of the movements sound perfectly tuneful and upbeat, while others have a subtle macabre edge to them as befits the stimulus for the ballet.
Tiefer und Tiefer, arranged here for strings, is actually the opening of Getty’s Three Waltzes for Piano and Orchestra. It is a slow waltz which continually modulates thru many different keys. The Home Suite also started in a different form: as a 1964 solo piano piece. Of the Irish-tinged Fiddler of Ballykeel, Getty said his own ancestors came from a Belfast suburb called Ballymoney, but “Since The Fiddler of Ballymoney by Getty might raise unintended nuances, I moved my ancestors a few miles away to Ballykeel.”
The usual excellent hi-res surround quality provided by PentaTone makes it easy for those of us not heavily into vocal music to get a taste of the instrumental compositional style of Gordon Getty.
— John Sunier
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