Orchestral Works
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Exotic, colorful and exciting new Orchestral music.

In the January-February 1998 issue of Fanfare, John Story writing about Yannatos' Trinity Mass said: "Trinity Mass is possibly a masterpiece worthy to stand comparison with such other 20th-century milestones as Britten's War Requiem, Tippet's A Child of Our Time and The Mask of Time, Penderecki's St. Luke's Passion, or Nono's Prometeo. The two works on this disc are the equal to the Trinity Mass, if not easier to enjoy because they are Orchestral works and the performances by both the Orchestra and the pianist are first-rate. The performers, under the composer's direction, play as well as any in this unfamiliar music. In 1988, William Doppmann asked Yannatos to write a piano concerto for him. He asked that it be a substantial piece which would show off the piano in various ways. Yannatos writes: "I started to think of ways to approach this formidable task in the summer of 1992, started to compose the work in the fall of 1992, and finished it in the spring of 1993, completing the Orchestration that summer. My own guidelines included writing a piece that linked the past to the present, musically and pianistically, presented both piano and Orchestra in a mutually dependent partnership and played with the notion of transformation and renewal in the cycles of the seasons and in the linkage and development of musical ideas." About his Symphony No. 4, Yannatos writes: "I was transfixed by events in Tiananmen Square - excited by the students' quest for greater freedom and appalled by the brutal response by the government. As a musician, I felt compelled to speak out the only way I could. I spent the summer of 1989 immersed in the rhythms and cadences of Chinese folk tunes from a collection by Yuen Ren Chao given to me by his daughter, Rulan Chao Pian, my colleague in the music department. Elements of these tunes were chosen to serve as my musical materials for the six-movement symphony I planned to write. Sketches were made that summer and the work was completed and Orchestrated by January 1990."
James Yannatos, composer
Concerto for Piano & Orchestra
Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra, James Yannatos, conductor, William Doppmann, piano

James Yannatos, composer
Symphony No. 4 (Tiananmen Square)
Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra, James Yannatos, conductor

Albany quickly follows up its well-received CD of James Yannatos's Trinity Mass with another disc of the composer's music. Yet, while there are many impressive passages in these two works - especially the symphony - I cannot say that I wholeheartedly urge you to seek out this CD. The Piano Concerto of 1992-93 is genial, eclectic music that on first hearing sounded winning and inviting....The Fourth Symphony (1989-90), subtitled "Tiananmen Square," is another long work but one that I feel is slightly more successful....For live recordings, the sound is excellent; the audience is dead silent, and the sound is close and full." (Fanfare)
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