May 17, 2019
Afro-American composer David Sanford shows a musical Modernism with a healthy admixture of “Jazz” influences on his recent recording of orchestra works Black Noise (BMOP Sound 1063). The three works so nicely captured by Gil Rose and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, along with the cello solo vibrancy of Matt Haimovitz for the “Scherzo Grosso” work.
It’s a kind of “asphalt jungle” contemporary urban backdrop this music in part projects, along with an Afro-American Enlightenment perspective. So “Prayer: In Memorium Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” (1992) has a boldly defined hard-edge to it heightened by swarming tutti’s of brass and winds punctuated by flute and trumpet solo parts of note.
The hopeful King Prayer serves to leave us in a thoughtful action that in the end moves us from two very Noir-Jazz Modernisms, the opening 2017 “Black Noise” and the closing 2006 “Scherzo Grosso” and its magnificent expressionist concerted cello part surrounding the very forward orchestral parts.
There are many out there who have tried to insert “jazzy” writing into a modern orchestral atmosphere. Many come off alas as not having the right comfort level and experiential savvy of a David Sanford. You know the authentic thing if you do, and this is very much that. And so the three works reaffirm that a proper meld of the two contemporaneities is exactly right when it is! This is. Rose, BMOP and Haimovitz do the music proud.