Friday, November 25, 2011

CCC 06 - Michael Daugherty

American composer Michael Daugherty is the featured artist this time for the Consonant Classical Challenge.

Daugherty's gained a great deal of acclaim for his orchestral work, the Metropolis Symphony. It's an exciting and accessible composition, and you don't have to know a lot of the Superman mythos to enjoy it. Here's the first movement, Lex Luthor. It starts out with a trio of police whistles -- appropriate accompaniment for a master criminal! What follows is music that's mischievous rather than malevolent, as befitting a Golden Age comic book villain.  Listen to the masterful orchestration, too -- this is a score that would be right at home in a feature film.

Daugherty's long been fascinated with pop culture, and his music uses a vocabulary that many non-classical listeners could readily understand. At the same time, Daugherty's compositions are meticulously constructed and has plenty of substance in it for the serious classical music listener.

A partial listing of his compositions will give you a good idea of how thoroughly Daugherty is emeshed in the elements and icons that are as familiar to audiences today as Greek mythology was to 17th Century audiences:Route 66, Bay of Pigs for classical guitar and string orchestra; Spaghetti Western for English Horn and Orchestra; the opera "Jackie O," Shaken Not Stirred for percussion and electric bass, Dead Elvis for bassoon and chamber orchestra, and the work below, Desi.

Michael Daugherty injects an element of fun in many of his compositions, but this isn't novelty music. His compositions are very much written for audiences here and now, and should have great appeal both to classical and non-classical audiences. And they're works that should hold up well in the future, too.

Fun, appealing, relevant, and well written. Why don't more orchestras lighten up and program Daugherty's music? I don't know either.

Recommended Recordings;

Daugherty: Metropolis Symphony

Michael Daugherty: Philadelphia Stories; UFO

Daugherty: Route 66; Ghost Ranch; Sunset Strip; Time Machine

No comments:

Post a Comment