Various Artists

American Pop: The Works of Michael Daugherty

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Naxos' American Pop: The Works of Michael Daugherty is a boxed collection of three albums that were first released between 2004 and 2011. As a musical heir of Charles Ives and Aaron Copland, as well as a highly original voice in postmodern music, Daugherty is the leading proponent of Americana in contemporary classical concert music. He creates elaborate tone poems that are also time capsules that preserve the stories and myths of American popular culture, and he uses the orchestra to paint vivid pictures of his quirky subjects with eclectic and sometimes kitschy musical references. The imagery of Daugherty's music is so well-known that many of his pieces need little explanation: Metropolis Symphony, Route 66, UFO, Ghost Ranch, and Sunset Strip evoke their subjects so immediately and brilliantly, the listener always has an idea of the narratives, whether they are of real or imaginary scenes. These recordings feature dynamic performances by percussionist Evelyn Glennie, pianist Terrence Wilson, conductor Marin Alsop with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and Giancarlo Guerrero with the Nashville Symphony. Because some of Daugherty's works have appeared on other Naxos albums, most notably his large-scale choral piece Mount Rushmore, this is not a complete survey of his music on this label, so a larger box set will be necessary at some future point.

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