Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin, Catherine Comet
The eclecticism embraced by Michael Colgrass and Jacob Druckman as a response to serialism led, in their case, to a sort of neo-Impressionism. While it may lack programmatic implications as specific as those of the music of Debussy and Ravel, Druckman's and Colgrass's recent work bears striking resemblances to that of the turn-of-the-century Impressionists in orchestration and methods of construction.
Like the tone poems of the French masters, the works on this recording are made up of brilliantly-colored sound modules arranged in purposeful sequence. Also like that of the Impressionists, Colgrass's and Druckman's music strikes the ear as organic, not architectural, in design. Perhaps more than anything else, it is these composers' ability to combine ear-catching surface activity with unshakably stable musical structures that marks Colgrass and Druckman as two of the leading orchestral composers of recent years in American music.