Dawn To Dust
Colin Currie, percussion
Augusta Read Thomas
DAWN TO DUST contains live recordings of three significant and adventurous works by leading composers Augusta Read Thomas, Nico Muhly, and Andrew Norman. World-renowned percussionist Colin Currie performs on Andrew Norman’s Switch.
The Utah Symphony, celebrating its 75th anniversary in the 2015-16 season, is one of America’s major symphony orchestras and a leading cultural organization in the Intermountain West. It is recognized internationally for its distinctive performances, commitment to music education programs, and recording legacy. Reference Recordings joins Utah Symphony in thanks to their 75th Anniversary Signature Sponsor, the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, for making this recording possible.
Founded in 1940, the Utah Symphony became recognized as a leading American ensemble largely through the efforts of Maurice Abravanel, Music Director from 1947 to 1979. During his tenure, the orchestra undertook four international tours, released numerous recordings and developed an extensive music education program. DAWN TO DUST furthers the tradition of outstanding contemporary American music from the Utah Symphony, and is the second in an ongoing Utah Symphony series from Reference Recordings.
The Utah Symphony has performed in many of the world’s most prestigious concert halls including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Musikverein, Konzerthaus, Philharmonie, Schauspielhaus, Gewandhaus, Royal Festival Hall and Teatro Colón. The April 2016 release of DAWN TO DUST coincides with Utah Symphony’s return to Carnegie Hall on April 29th for a concert in honor of their 75th anniversary.
Thierry Fischer, Music Director of the Utah Symphony since 2009, has revitalized the orchestra with creative programming and critically acclaimed performances that have drawn consistently full houses. Highlights of his tenure include complete symphony cycles of Mahler in commemoration of former Utah Symphony Music Director, Maurice Abravanel, complete Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Nielsen cycles, a multi-season Stravinsky and Haydn symphony cycle and the tour of Utah’s five national parks. Mr. Fischer has also initiated a major commissioning program in Utah that has produced new works by Simon Holt, Michael Jarrell, and the works on this album by Nico Muhly, Andrew Norman, and Augusta Read Thomas.
Hybrid SACD contains 5.1 and Stereo SACD and CD stereo
“Dawn To Dust contains live recordings of three significant and interesting works by leading composers Augusta Read Thomas, Nico Muhly, and Andrew Norman.… The first work on the disc is a lovely and dynamic contemporary ballet for orchestra by Ms. Thomas, called EOS – Goddess of the Dawn. It has a rich palette of orchestra sounds.… The next work is by Muhly called Control – Five Landscapes for Orchestra. The landscapes in question are from Utah, and are inspired by the spectacular geography the state offers.… Here again, there are very rich orchestrations, and evocations of the dramatic landforms Utah provides. The Red Dust movement, designed to musically reference the areas around St. George, is particularly striking. Finally, the disc features Andrew Norman’s Switch, a work featuring a lot of percussion along with the orchestra. Percussionist Colin Currie said he felt the piece evoked being inside a pin-ball machine, a good enough metaphor for the aggressive, dynamic sound. This disc comes from the revered Reference Recording label, and as is no surprise, it is of reference quality. … This disc will be of interest to contemporary classical fans, or those searching for something new and unique. I enjoyed the disc, and the recording is of very high quality. I found the two- channel CD layer to be of also excellent sound, lacking just a bit in dynamic range when the percussion instruments are playing, and a hint of smoothness in the strings.” —Mel Martin, Audiophile Audition
“Prediction: The visionary new music, system-testing percussion, and virtual rainbow of colors that distinguish Dawn to Dust, the latest hybrid SACD in Reference Recordings’ Fresh! series, guarantee that it will become a hit among music-loving audiophiles who dare play tracks beyond 3 minutes in length. The inventive genius that courses through the recording’s three compositions—Control (Five Landscapes for Orchestra) by Nico Muhly, 34; Switch by Andrew Norman, 37; and Eos (Goddess of the Dawn), a ballet for orchestra by Augusta Read Thomas, 52—is, in and of itself, enrapturing, formidable, and breathtaking. But when combined with the spectacular coloristic and percussive effects captured by the Soundmirror engineering team, you have a recording virtually certain to earn Dust to Dawn at least one Grammy nomination and countless airings at audio demos. The Utah Symphony, under the direction of Thierry Fischer, commissioned the music in honor of its 75th birthday. The most spectacular piece of the lot, Norman’s single-movement, 28-minute Switch, showcases the phenomenal percussionist, Colin Currie, as well as the orchestra’s percussion ensemble.” —Jason Victor Serinus, Stereophile
“[Dawn To Dust] sets off into new territory with three commissioned pieces that the Utah Symphony performed and recorded last year.…Switch, by the omnipresent Andrew Norman, is the longest and most interesting piece here, virtually a percussion concerto for the nimble hands of Colin Currie, who is kept very busy with his arsenal of sticks and mallets. As per Norman’s well-known fixation on video games, the percussionist caroms all over the orchestra in a short-attention-span landscape that constantly changes at high speed. There are meditative troughs which give the soloist some much-needed rest, but the pinball machine (in Currie’s vivid description) starts up again soon enough; eventually he finds some peace at the end on a simple E major scale. … give Fischer and Utah plenty of credit for enterprise, joining their orchestral colleagues further west in bringing some new music onto disc. Given the frequency in which Norman’s music is played nationwide, there is shockingly little Norman available on CD, so this SACD automatically becomes a valuable addition to his slim discography.” —Richard S Ginell, Classical Voice North America
“This disc contains premiere recordings of the three works commissioned by the Utah Symphony to celebrate its 75th birthday, and as a bright and upbeat showcase for the orchestra it does its job nicely.…First comes the five-movement EOS (the goddess of the dawn) by Augusta Read Thomas, who knows what she wants from an orchestra…This is neat, well-crafted writing…[that] Thierry Fischer conducts diligently…the rush of unchecked energy and invention in Andrew Norman’s Switch comes as a thrill. This 30-minute span features an ultra-alert Colin Currie and is also where you’ll find the finest orchestral playing of the collection: Fischer keeps Norman’s colours super-bright, his pinball rhythms bouncy and tight, and the ensemble responds with impressive nimbleness – the winds and brass have a gloss and gusto that set textures ablaze. There’s a brilliantly elastic sense of play between soloist and orchestra, with every percussion instrument setting off a fun reaction in some part of the orchestra.…” —Kate Molleson, Gramophone Magazine
“One thing is certain, that the Utah Symphony and music director Thierry Fischer are going places. This superbly recorded anthology reports a top-drawer orchestra. Augusta Read Thomas’s EOS (Goddess of the Dawn) pulsates with life and suggestion, orchestrated with colour, a gleaming score conveying very likeable music to the ears.… Much is promised at the beginning [of Andrew Norman’s Switch] and delivered over thirty minutes. Just as he was in London, Colin Currie is amazing.” —Colin Anderson, ClassicalEar
These three works are performed with meticulous attention to detail by Fischer and his band. The orchestra plays with clarity, precision and finely crafted articulation. In his time as music director of the Utah Symphony, Fischer has molded it into a first rate ensemble and it’s gratifying to see it once again represented on disc.” —Edward Reichel, Salt Lake Magazine
“Utah Symphony and Thierry Fischer present an immaculately conceived performance of works by three of our most prominent composers of the moment: Augusta Read Thomas, Nico Muhly, and Andrew Norman.” —Geoffrey Larson, Second Inversion
“This is essential listening for fans of new American orchestral music. The triptych gives a fascinating cross-section of current trends, and RR’s “Fresh!” moniker is an incredibly accurate description of the results. The notes on the pieces are by the composers themselves, and it is interesting to see how the prose and musical writing mirror each other…Recorded sound is demonstration quality. Highly recommended!” —Marcus Karl Maroney, ConcertoNet
“If you are a classical fan, this album is a must-have. If you are an electronic, industrial or pop fan, this album can give you great insight into how to construct a song. I loved this album: I really felt that there was a great deal of emotion and talent behind Dawn to Dust, and I could not help but keep listening to it over and over again. Trust me—if you are an artist, writer or musician, this album is great to listen to while creating.” –Seeth McGavien, SLUG Magazine
As is to be expected from this audiophile label, the sound quality on this 5.1 channel SACD (recorded and post produced in 64fs DSD) is awesome. The wide dynamic range of the recording allows both the subtlest string pianissimos and the loudest percussive climaxes to be reproduced with equal fidelity – every instrument clearly identified within a soundstage that possesses convincing width and depth. … Exemplary notes on these compositions written by their respective composers complete this stimulating release.” —Graham Williams, HRAudio.net