JOSE BEVIA: Symphony No. 1; Sonde el Viento Nos Lieve; Three Enigmas; Trio for Flute, Viola and Harp – Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra/Vit Micka/ Arielle, harp/ Tomoya Aomore and Chihiro Shibayama, percussion/ Victor Ngo, piano and celeste/ Noriko Suzuki and Ferdy Tumakaka, pianos/ Gloria Huh, flute/ David Clausen, viola – MSR Classics MS1239 [Distr. by Albany] ***:
Jose Bevia is a classical and jazz composer whose works have won competitions in both genres. He is currently Professor of Music at County College of Morris in Randolph, New Jersey. The composer produced this CD and two of the works were recorded at the Juilliard School of Music.
The Trio for Flute, Viola and Harp (2006) is a modern re-interpretation of Debussy’s Trio. It’s a work of harmonic and rhythmic variety, especially adept at exploring some of the flute’s musical possibilities. It alternates the dreamy reverie that Debussy finds in that combination of instruments with frenetic, dissonant jazzy moments. Yet, it also has beautiful melodies that could capture the hearts of audiences looking for some tonal allure. It would make an effective part of a modern chamber music program, especially if paired with the Debussy Trio that inspired it.
The Symphony No. 1 (2007) depicts the confrontation between “positive and negative energies which dominate the human existence.” Movements one, two and four are musical struggles where the composer creates tension by contrasting percussion and brass (negative) and strings (positive) in an energetic tapestry. The short third movement is jazzily percussive and only at the end of the last movement is there some resolution to the struggle with a lyrical, quiet ending (representing the triumph of the positive). The Moravian Philharmonic plays adequately, if not virtuosically, and the recording is distant but clear.
Donde el Viento nos Lleve (Wherever the Winds Takes us…) is a fantasy for multiple percussion and harp that is an intriguing example of how an all-percussive composition can be lyrical and still be declarative. It is very well recorded. Three Enigmas (2009) for two pianos explores the combination of jazz, classical and romantic thematic material with aleatoric developmental techniques. The result is colorful, contemplative, dissonant and unpredictable.
This is a disc of a young composer who is experimenting with his musical skills, looking for a niche to call his own. As such, it may appeal to listeners who are searching for works that are classically based but influenced by jazz, with more than a touch of invention and discovery. Others might want to hear the Trio for Flute, Viola and Harp, the most winning composition on this disc. The chamber works are very well recorded with the right combination of clarity and reverberation.
— Robert Moon