American composer Jack Gallagher, born in 1947, teaches at The College of Wooster in Ohio. Unlike many composers of his generation, the list of those with whom he studied and worked is not weighted toward serialists and modernists, but toward more lyrical composers like Elie Siegmeister, Karel Husa, Thea Musgrave, and Ned Rorem, and their aesthetic orientation is evident in his work. His orchestral pieces recorded here, written between 1977 and 2007, reflect a lyrical, melodic approach that sets him apart from the academic mainstream of many of the American composers who were trained in the 1960s and 1970s. His music is formally conventional, but it is always skillfully crafted and is notable for its colorful and nuanced orchestration, and it has an immediate appeal. The slow sections usually employ lovely, delicate sonorities, and harmonies reminiscent of Copland. Much of the music, in fact, suggests the strongly evocative, almost pictorially descriptive Americana of the mid-20th century. The five-movement Sinfonietta, written between 1990 and 2007, is a more abstract work. The third movement, titled "Malambo," not surprisingly calls to mind the spirited Argentinean dances of Ginastera's early period. JoAnn Falletta leads the London Symphony Orchestra in performances of energy and exceptional polish. Naxos provides a detailed but warmly ambient sonic environment ideally suited to the music.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Eddins