Here we have four world premiere recordings of orchestral works, including pieces by American composer Robert Nelson, South African Peter Lieuwen and Swiss Thomas Fortmann, with a new orchestration of Percy Grainger’s Lincolnshire Posy. The appealing music is well played by the student orchestra of the University of Houston.

Contemporary music extends in many directions nowadays and is unfortunately still not recognized widely; many music enthusiasts reject totally what they actually have never experienced because they were discouraged by one particular style. This way they miss out on some interesting music, like that on this CD.

Thomas Fortmann’s 2nd Symphony of 30 minutes duration follows various 20th Century symphony composers and the ethereal first movement, the drunken country-fair atmosphere in the second, the mysterious Larghetto and the dance-like and again somewhat dissonant final movement has much to be said for it.

Robert Nelson‘s ‘Capriccio for violin and orchestra’ is a mostly lyrical, and generally very poetic piece with a lively middle section, which is interesting to listen to. ‘Astral Blue’ by Peter Lieuwen describes the beauty of terrestrial and cosmic environment in an almost impressionistic way.

Percy Grainger’s ‘Lincolnshire Posy’ was composed for brass and is presented here in a brilliant orchestration by Merlin Patterson. Grainger based this piece on folk melodies. The result is a colorful fantasy, which in a certain way portrayed the singers who performed the old folk melodies, according to the composer.

This program was performed by students of ‘Moore’s School of Music’, which is the music faculty at University of Houston. The playing level is high, the engagement strong: one can not require more.

—Remy Franck (translation by Wolfgang Ziegler & Stephen Sutton)