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Lou Harrison: A Portrait.

Lou Harrison, the country's senior gay composer, could not have ordered up a more sumptuous 80th birthday present--the first compact disc devoted to his music by a major company, performed by one of America's brightest young ensembles, the ten-year-old California Symphony Orchestra, conducted by its debonair young founding maestro, Barry Jekowsky.

The piece de resistance of this 80-minute anthology is the joyous Symphony No. 4 ("Last Symphony"), which draws on Harrison's love of Asian, Native American, and ancient European musics and features as narrator pop vocalist Al Jarreau. Included also is a bright performance of "Concerto in Slendro," one of the composer's most appealing and most popular explorations of Indonesian modes, a meeting of conventional violin (here played by Maria Bachman) and unusual percussion instruments. "Solstice," of which Jekowsky conducts a portion, is a sizzling dance score written for dancer-choreographer Jean Erdman in 1949 while Harrison was still part of the avant-garde New York scene.

Harrison remains living proof that a composer can be true to an aesthetic vision and still beguile with music that runs against the currents of his time. The works on this disc virtually dare the listener not to succumb.
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Title Annotation:Barry Jekowsky, California Symphony Orchestra
Author:Ulrich, Allan
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Sound Recording Review
Date:Dec 23, 1997
Words:194
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