Utah Symphony, Stewart Robertson, conductor; Emil Miland, cello
The manifold beauties of the music of David Carlson (b 1952) are rooted in a lyrical-dramatic ethos and in the composer's assimilation of a vast repertoire of compositional techniques and musics which he crafts into an identifiably personal style. Carlson draws upon a wide range of influences－from a lifelong affinity for the music of Richard Strauss, Prokofiev, Berg, and Gershwin, to his embrace of musics of the Far East and the American West. The overriding sensibility in his music is a richly poetic one, stylistically cohesive and unfailingly communicative, with lucid musical arguments and a profusion of arresting ideas.
The four orchestral works on this disc amply demonstrate the above-mentioned qualities. The major work, "Symphonic Sequences" from Dreamkeepers (1996), is an orchestral tone poem with an underlying narrative based on his opera Dreamkeepers. It is a distillation of the opera's opening and of scenes in Act II, paralleling portions of the opera's plot. Dreamkeepers explores the cultural disssonance between American Indian and Anglo cultures and is set on a Ute Indian reservation, the Ute nation being one of Utah's indigenous peoples. Cello Concerto No. 1 (1979) is a ruminative and richly atmospheric work while the two remaining works, Rhapsodies (1987) and Twilight Night (1989), are vibrant and lyrical pieces awash in richly hued harmonies and luxuriant colors.