North Texas arts magazine TheaterJones launches a new recording column with a review of The Kansas City Symphony’s recording of music by Adam Schoenberg. Adam Schoenberg will be appearing in North Texas with in April for a performance of his work La Luna Azul with the Fort Worth Symphony.
“The music turns out to be charming and agreeable, but self-confident enough not to beg us to like it. The first work on the recording, Finding Rothko, is inspired by the artist’s famous great slabs of color, and it seems almost too sure-footed to date from the composer’s student days. It’s invigorating, impeccably paced music, and shows the composer’s sure hand with orchestral forces. … The 10-movement Picture Studies, was—in a transcription for the U. S. Marine Band—my introduction to Schoenberg, and I liked the work in that form. But it turns out that—surprise!—it’s even better in its original form, which we have as the last composition on the disc.… from the bravura E-flat Clarinet solo in “Miró” to the loud, stark blocks of sound in “Kandinsky”—and the even louder silences—what he sees comes out beautifully in the music. That’s Adam Schoenberg, I guess; but that’s also the quality of the recording. Reference Recordings is justifiably proud of the recording’s engineer, Keith O. Johnson, even to the extent of putting his name on the cover of the disc and giving him his own page in the notes; he evidently patented 24-bit HDCD encoding. I have yet to play the disc on equipment that will take advantage of the extra information encoded on the disc, but that this is a superb recording is clear, even on regular CD equipment. Likewise, the Kansas City Symphony, which has been championing Schoenberg’s music for some time now, sounds superb under Michael Stern’s direction. … Multiple hearings will be our pleasure.” —Andrew Anderson, TheaterJones