Among the various conductors who have made a commitment to program contemporary American music, Giancarlo Guerrero and his Nashville Symphony Orchestra have had an exceptional record in locating and realizing music that is both rigorous and accessible. This group of three wind concertos, all played by Nashville Symphony section principals, is one of their best efforts. The three concertos have three movements each, in the traditional fast-slow-fast pattern and more or less conventional roles for the soloists. Yet they are entirely different in material. Frank Ticheli's Clarinet Concerto of 2010 is a kind of fantasia on music by the composers named in the movement titles, George Gershwin, Aaron Copland, and Leonard Bernstein. Perhaps the standout among the three strong works is Brad Warnaar's Horn Concerto, entirely diatonic and with a movement titled Tintinnabulations, yet not minimalist. The Tintinnabulations movement has a sort of wash of small bells that recur in the Tarantella, again more an allusive Tarantella than a folkish one. The Flute Concerto of Iranian-born Behzad Ranjbaran likewise draws on traditional material but avoids a straight folkloric treatment. Guerrero and his players achieve a continuously tense, sharp effect. For anyone with an interest in contemporary American orchestral music, this is a must.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim