Gil Rose / Boston Modern Orchestra Project

Irving Fine: Complete Orchestral Works

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Even though Irving Fine's music is sometimes discounted for being derivative of Stravinsky's brand of neo-Classicism, which was the lingua franca of American composers of the late 1930s to the early '50s, he was among such figures as Aaron Copland, Virgil Thompson, Leonard Bernstein, and Lukas Foss, who were also influenced by this style. Considering the Toccata Concertante (1947), the Notturno for strings and harp (1951), the Serious Song, A Lament for string orchestra (1955), Blue Towers (1959), and Diversions for orchestra (1960) as formative efforts, it seems clear that the common practice of neo-Classicism freed up Fine to perfect his craft, giving him the practical tools and the transparent sound that led to his final work, the mature and highly original Symphony (1962), which is widely acknowledged to be his masterpiece. Gil Rose and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project have recorded the complete orchestral works, which fit neatly on one CD, and this program is perhaps most representative of Fine's output, small as it is. Few other recordings of these pieces have the energy, consistency, and commitment that this group shows, and this exciting album is a worthy addition to the growing Fine catalog. Highly recommended to admirers of American modernist music.

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