Gordon Getty, by some reckonings the world's richest individual, is also a classical composer. He has generously supported opera and also composed the Falstaff-themed Plump Jack, whose overture is included here. Most of the music for which he has gained wide attention is vocal, but here is a selection of instrumental pieces, recorded in London, for a boutique Dutch audiophile label no less, with the 86-year-old Neville Marriner returning to the podium before the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields to do the honors. The London location is actually the least surprising, for Getty's style is more British than American. Getty has said that he is "two-thirds a 19th-century composer," and the Stravinsky-like dances in the Ancestor Suite, extracted from ballet music that you may not recognize as being inspired by the writings of Poe, doesn't do much to jazz up the conservative atmosphere. Yet the music doesn't exactly fit the neo-Romantic category; it's economical and brisk, for one thing, and it's full of little flashes of novelty -- listen to the end of the Overture to Plump Jack, for example -- that don't come from any other specific place. The short pieces on the second half of the program are pretty light stuff, but taken for what it is, Getty's music is competently done. Transparent sonics and a performance by the ensemble perhaps best suited to the music are both helpful, and you might put this disc on a top-notch stereo and quiz your friends as to the composer. Booklet notes are in English, German, and French.
Review by James Manheim