Aspects of America (SACD)

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Oregon Symphony, Carlos Kalmar

Aspects of America presents a fascinating collection of 20th- and 21st-century American orchestral music, ranging from “good old” Samuel Barber’s Souvenirs to pieces by esteemed living composers such as Sean Shepherd (Magiya), Sebastian Currier (Microsymph) and Christopher Rouse (Supplica). Centerpiece of this album is Portland-based composer Kenji Bunch’s Aspects of an Elephant, inspired by the timeless parable of six men who try to discern the traits of an elephant in a pitch-dark room, eventually discovering that only the sum of their perceptions encompasses the full truth. In a similar way, the pieces featured on this album constitute a rich panorama of the dynamism and diversity of contemporary American composition.

Bunch’s piece is dedicated to the members of the Oregon Symphony, who release their fifth album with Pentatone, after Music for a Time of War (2011), This England (2012), Spirit of the American Range (2015) and Haydn Symphonies 53, 64 & 96 (2017). On Aspects of America, they again play under the spirited leadership of music director Carlos Kalmar.

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Sean Shepherd (b. 1979)
1. Magiya

Sebastian Currier (b. 1959)
2. Microsymph

Christopher Rouse (b. 1949)
3. Supplica

Kenji Bunch (b. 1973)
Aspects of an Elephant
4. Introduction: Into Darkness 
5. Var. I: The Elephant is a Whip 
6. Var. II: The Elephant is a Spear 
7. Var. III: The Elephant is a Silk Cloth
8. Var. IV: The Elephant is a Tree 
9. Var. V: The Elephant is a Snake 
10. Var. VI: The Elephant is a Throne
11. The Argument 
12. Finale: The Creature Revealed 

Samuel Barber (1910-1981)
13. Waltz 
14. Schottische 
15. Pas de deux 
16. Two-Step 
17. Hesitation-Tango
18. Galop