GILL Before the Wresting Tides
The music of the past is of near endless fascination to Jeremy Gill (b1975) and, while in no sense a pastiche composer, many of his works illustrate that fascination and highlight the context into which they fit. The three works on this involving Boston Modern Orchestra Project disc have this trait in common to greater or lesser degrees.
Before the Wresting Tides was written in 2012 as a companion piece to Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, for performances in Philadelphia early the following year. Although using similar forces to Beethoven’s, Gill made no attempt to write in a Beethovenian manner and his cantata (setting verses by Hart Crane) is structured very differently. The core of the work is the five stanzas of Crane’s ‘Voyages II’, alternating the chorus with duets for soloists within the main body of singers; this is then framed and punctuated by piano, the orchestra accompanying throughout.
Serenada concertante (2013) and Notturno concertante (2014) were conceived as a pair of short concerto-type works, the one for oboe, its companion for clarinet, when a pair of commissions arrived serendipitously in close order in the composer’s mailbox. In both pieces the impact of the past is more musically present, not least derived from the favourite works of the two commissioning soloists (and performers here), oboist Erin Hannigan (who chose ‘Mozart, Strauss and Goossens’) and clarinettist Chris Grymes, whose dream about a mis playing of Nielsen’s Concerto furnished the thematic impetus for Gill’s compellingly active and varied Notturno concertante. (Nielsen is eventually quoted six and a half minutes before the end.) The lighter, playful Serenada concertante is more allusive, using the named forebears as models rather than quoting directly. The playing throughout is superb, the recording first-rate, making this a very warmly recommendable disc.