Album Review

Charles Wuorinen “On Alligators” [tzadik]

cujo   2/27/2007   A Library

A mixed-bag 2005 release from Tzadik featuring the music of Charles Wuorinen (b. 1938). Wuorinen is known for writing lots of serial music and for being the youngest winner of the Pewlitt Surprise (in 1970 for the electronic work Time’s Encomium).

Title Track: shrill instrumentation and poor miking/mixing make for an awful chamber work.

4th String Quartet: apparently an academic triumph, but this expansive, breathy work is a bit of a yawn.

Natural Fantasy: _now_ we’re getting somewhere… this is a fractally-inspired impromptu for organ. Delicious temporal liberties are taken. This is proof that pitch selection isn’t necessarily the most important thing in writing music.

3rd Piano Concerto: …and now we’ve arrived. Ohlsson surprisingly breaks out of the Chopin mold to deliver this work with all the thrust of your typical fast-slow-fast concerto, but with none of the melody or harmony. I believe this is what they call a good romp. Your ears also can’t miss the great percussion and trombone writing.

-Cujo, KFJC, February 2007

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