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An Orchestral Journey


Composer: Brian Wilbur Grundstrom
Performed by: Omega Studio Orchestra and Millennium Orchestra
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
8 96931 00347 6
Release Date: 12 August 2016

An Orchestral Journey beautifully showcases Brain Wilbur Grundstrom incredible talents for composing melodic themes for orchestra. The album contains 5 works (7 tracks, 1 hour, 18 min, 55 sec) and represents Grundstrom's work from 1999-2013...

Brian Wilbur Grundstrom presents a modern collection of orchestral works that spans 14 years of his career. An Orchestral Journey is a conventional classical outing that will be warmly embraced by not only classical music fans, but also those that enjoy orchestrated soundtracks.

Grundstrom has a skill in delivering music that has no filler material, no dull builds to something more interesting... What he delivers is almost 1 hour and 18 minutes of full on melodic music. In places it's rousing, in others it's patriotic and there are numerous melancholic segments, all making for a release that grabs your attention.

There's no picking favourites. Each has it's own strong points - and no weak points. This is an album that you'll find hard to turn off once you start it. There are so many standout moments and, unlike a lot of composers who focus on a certain area of the orchestra to provide certain emotions, Grundstrom uses all parts of the orchestra, allowing the listener to appreciate how beauty and suspense can be created equally by all instruments.

The album opens with 'Contentment, Poem for Orchestra' (1999), influenced by the 19th- and early 20th-century tradition of the “tone poem,” is an expressive transformation of mood from beginning to end, while 'Jubilation! Dance for Orchestra' (2000) illustrates Grundstrom’s tendencies to explore rhythm and meter, developing a lively and pastoral dance in a five-pulse meter, moving from a powerful introductory theme to an uplifting and joyous celebration.

'Suite for Chamber Orchestra' (2002) shows some of Grundstrom’s most abstract and harmonically adventurous passages on the album, expounding an emotional experience, from tragedy and anguish, to healing and acceptance, and finally to exultation and maturity.

Demonstrating clear concertante style, 'American Reflections for Strings and Harp' (2009) uses rhythmic energy and orchestrations that suggest film scoring. And, finally, 'Chenonceau' (2013) takes its name from a castle in France’s Loire Valley and employs different instrumental combinations to carry the melodic ideas from one group to the other, contrasting the textures of the woodwinds and the strings.

A truly incredible release.


Darren Rea

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