GARCIA Auschwitz. In memoriam Earle Brown
Havana-born Orlando Jacinto García turns 60 this year, and this characteristically courageous issue from Toccata Classics allows us the opportunity to assess what the composer himself describes in the booklet as ‘three of my more important orchestral works’. García moved to the United States as a boy, studying initially with Dennis Kam at the University of Miami before becoming a private student of Morton Feldman.
Varadero Memories (1988) was the first work he completed after his studies with Feldman and holds fast to the composer’s avowed intention of ‘changing the perception of time in the listener and creating a static world’. Auschwitz (nunca se olvidarán) (‘they will never be forgotten’) dates from six years later and once again explores the themes of memory and loss, albeit more plangently, incorporating as it does both a wordless choral and a spoken element. In many ways, though, it’s the most recent work, In memoriam Earle Brown from 2011, that serves up the most enduring rewards in the way that it eschews musical logic by focusing instead on timbre, texture, sonority and chance, all filtered through a (to my ears, at any rate) unmistakably bluesy harmonic sensibility. This is a touching memorial to the modernist American composer who was García’s close friend and colleague.
The performances under José Serebrier’s lead have both enviable concentration and commitment in their favour. Decent sound and excellent presentation, too.