Magazine article The Tracker

Tales of Hemingway, American Gothic, Once upon a Castle

Magazine article The Tracker

Tales of Hemingway, American Gothic, Once upon a Castle

Article excerpt

Michael Daugherty, Tales of Hemingway, American Gothic, Once Upon a Castle, Zuill Bailey, cello; Paul Jacobs, organ. Nashville Symphony, Giancarlo Guerrero, Conductor. Naxos American Classics, 8.559798. Obviously, the reason I received a review copy of this CD is because the last third of its contents features the organ. Nevertheless, I found the entire recording quite fascinating. Michael Daugherty is an award-winning musician who is one of the ten most performed American composers, according to the League of American Orchestras. The three major works on this CD are all inspired by iconic American presences.

The first, Tales of Hemingway, is a concerto for cello and orchestra with four movements: Big Two-Hearted River based on the 1925 novel and its protagonist Nick Adams; For Whom the Bell Tolls; The Old Man and the Sea; and The Sun Also Rises. Of these, I was particularly taken with The Old Man and the Sea. It beautifully evokes the salty aridity of the old man's struggle to bring his big fish home before the sharks completely devour it.

The second work is inspired by one of America's great, but somewhat unsung artist, Grant Wood of Iowa. The composer grew up in Grant Wood country and his father was a fan of Wood's paintings. The three sections of this concerto for orchestra are: On a Roll, Winter Dreams, and Pitchfork. I was inspired to search for Grant Wood's paintings on the internet while I listened. One of my favorites, Daughters of Revolution, was immense fun to see again, three stiff members of the DAR, one sipping tea from a china cup, with Washington Crossing the Delaware in the background. …

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