This is an anthology of orchestral works from various periods over the last 30 years, valuably supplementing discs of Corigliano’s concertos and his Symphony No. 1 commemorating AIDS victims, which has now gained a second recording (RCA, 1/97). Some of these pieces have connections with other music and have been through several transformations.
To Music started in 1993 as a brass fanfare for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and was adapted for orchestra two years later. It is based on Schubert’s song An die Musik and subtly brings its melody into the score, but in Corigliano’s chosen harmonic idiom. Voyage started as the 1971 choral piece setting Richard Wilbur’s translation of Baudelaire (see page 90), became a string orchestra work and then, at James Galway’s request, Corigliano made this version for flute and orchestra. Galway recorded it for RCA (10/88). There’s no hint of all these creative stages in the score that Edmund-Davies plays with such relaxed lyricism.
Campane di Ravello was written to celebrate Solti’s seventy-fifth birthday and introduces the popular song after some realistic bell sounds. The 1965 Elegy provides early evidence that the mantle of Samuel Barber, to whom it is dedicated, would fall on Corigliano. Both composers contradicted fashions by querying any necessity for their music to be difficult. The Promenade Overture is a cunning and amusing reversal of the finale of Haydn’s Farewell Symphony – entrances rather than exits.
Finally, Corigliano was encouraged by Lukas Foss to make an orchestral version of some music written in 1971 for a television feature based on the biblical account of the Creation. This is the result, with the narration from Sir Ian McKellen – no less – who gets no biography in the otherwise thorough CD booklet. Creations is still illustrative music, which is natural enough, but if film and television music always reached this standard of consistency and control what an improvement that would be! The performances from I Fiamminghi under Werthen are sympathetic and well recorded.'