Friday, April 06, 2012

CCC 025 - Kevin Puts

The Consonant Classical Challenge continues with American composer Kevin Puts. This young, up-and-coming composer has made a successful career of writing mostly for orchestras. He's completed four symphonies, and quite a few concertos for instruments, both traditional and non.

Although Puts structures his works in innovative ways, his harmonic language is triadic and modal. This gives his music a warm, poignant sound, especially in the slow passages. Here's an example of Puts' orchestral writing. This is ...this noble company, a work commissioned by the Atlanta Symphony.

Puts uses a deceptively conservative and simple method of writing to develop some very modern and original ideas. His Marimba Concerto has become a mainstay of the repertoire -- and with good reason. This is the first movement of this remarkable composition.

The composer seems equally at home with both long- and short-form compositions. Na Pali Coast for horn and orchestra runs less than ten minutes, but it is as fully engaging as Puts' major works. (note: the work starts about four minutes into the video) Na Pali Coast (long intro piece starts about 4 minutes in)

His Millennium Canons, commissioned by the Boston Pops to commemorate the new century demonstrates Puts command of counterpoint and complex musical structures.

Born in 1972, Kevin Puts is a young, energetic, and personable composer -- and part of the very age group that orchestras are trying to attract. So why isn't he programmed more often? I'm not sure. Kevin Puts is a modern compositional voice that should be heard, and more frequently. Perhaps now that he's won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Music, that may happen.

Recommended Recordings

Puts, Kevin. Millennium Canons / Newman, J.: My Hands Are A City / Holst, G.: Hammersmith (University Of Georgia Wind Ensemble)

American Portraits

New Music from Bowling Green, Vol. IV

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