All Classical Portland's CD Feature on Jennifer Higdon: All Things Majestic with Nashville Symphony
John Pitman's CD Features
On the heels of their triple-Grammy® – winning CD of Michael Daugherty’s music (Tales of Hemingway), the Nashville Symphony Orchestra continues its commitment to American music with this showcase of Jennifer Higdon works. All Things Majestic (Naxos) includes the eponymous composition, which was written for the Grand Teton Music Festival. It certainly captures the splendor of those granite peaks in Higdon’s imaginative use of instrumentation. Two concertos, both written within the last decade, share the spotlight: Viola Concerto (featuring the versatile Roberto Díaz), and Oboe Concerto, played by Nashville Symphony principal, James Button. Between the concertos and “Majestic”, Higdon utilizes the abilities of every instrument, and this orchestra is clearly up to the challenge.
Leading this orchestra based in the very musical city of Nashville (orchestra members easily adapt to bluegrass, country and other styles there), is Giancarlo Guerrero. His name should be familiar to audiences in Eugene and the Willamette Valley, having been music director from 2002-09 of the Eugene Symphony. During my conversation with Guerrero, his energy, enthusiasm and sheer love of American music came through: both in advocacy for contemporaries such as the Pulitzer Prize-winning Higdon, and in reverence for this country’s past masters Copland, Gershwin, and the tone-painter, Ferde Grofé. Guerrero and his team are proving that new works take a while to be accepted, but that they will be, in due time.