CROZIER Symphony No 1. Ballade
Daniel Crozier (b1965) has composed three one-act operas – the most recent, With Blood, With Ink (1993), issued by Albany in 2014 – as well as orchestral, chamber and vocal works, but few in the standard large instrumental genres: no concertos or string quartets, a single sonata (cello and piano, 1986), a trio (oboe, clarinet and bassoon, 1988) and a prelude and fugue (organ, 1985). Although the forms into which he casts his works might therefore seem unorthodox, his musical language is solidly based (as befits a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins), harmonically tonal and imaginatively scored.
Symphony No 1, subtitled Triptych for Orchestra, is not listed on the composer’s website (danielcrozier.com) under either title. Its three constituent movements are listed individually, as they were composed: ‘Ceremonies’ in 1998, the exuberant ‘Capriccio’ in 2002 and ‘Fairy Tale: East of the Sun & West of the Moon’ in 2003. They were also not recorded together: ‘Ceremonies’ was set down in June 2001 as part of a project with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, who returned with Schwarz to record the rest in September 2007. There is no disguising the differences in production; ‘Capriccio’ and ‘Fairy Tale’ sound brighter and better focused than ‘Ceremonies’. Despite this, the performance holds together overall and there is a clear, satisfying symphonic progression throughout, albeit manifestly narrative in character.
Crozier’s musical language in the symphony has resonances of earlier American composerly forebears as well as late Walton and early Tippett in places. It makes for an appealing blend, carried over into the attractive, dramatic Ballade: A Tale after the Brothers Grimm (2006 – Crozier remains coy as to which tale), beautifully played and recorded in Olomouc, Czech Republic, in 2016. At 46 minutes, however, the disc is short measure.