These three orchestral essays represent a conscious attempt to “... reconnect organically in the orderly evolution of the art of music without abandoning twentieth-century practice....” Each is written in a language that clearly bespeaks a concerted effort to come to terms with the great nineteenth-and early twentieth-century orchestral legacy of Brahms, Strauss, and Mahler.
The lyrical Concerto for Oboe of Walter Aschaffenburg (1927-2005) is best described in the composer’s own words, “... Not until I observed that no nineteenth-century composer (to my knowledge) had written an oboe concerto, did I rationalize that I could do it for them....”
Edward Miller (1930-2013) suggests that Anacrusis be used as a program opener for Mahler's First Symphony, a suggestion which aptly captures the spirit of the work.
Ed London's (1929-2013) A Hero Of Our Time considers the consequences of adapting the nineteenth-century heroic concert overture (e.g. Corolian, Manfred) to late twentieth-century cultural values. London sketches — via a combination of colorful orchestration, genuine lyricism, wit and rhythmic verve — a musical portrait of a tarnished but sympathetic hero of our troubled time — a sort of Don Quixote for the end of the century.
The performances by the Russian State Symphonic Cappella — formerly the Orchestra of the Ministry of Culture (Rozhdestvensky’s orchestra) — are committed and compelling.