Friday, March 29, 2013

CCC 065 - Stephen Bryant

American composer Stephen Bryantis the subject of this week's Consonant Classical Challenge. Bryant is a student of Cindy McTee (featured in CCC 059). studied with Cindy McTee. Bryant is a relatively young composer with a clear philosophy. On his website he states:
I strive to write music that leaps off the stage (or reaches out of the speakers) to grab you by the collar and pull you in. Whether through a relentless eruption of energy, or the intensity of quiet contemplation, I want my music to give you no choice, and no other desire, but to listen.
For Bryant, communication with the audience is paramount. His use of tonality is a way to ensure that communication isn't broken. His melodic forms and harmonies are familiar enough to engage the audience. And that makes them receptive for the emotions that Bryant wants to communicate.

Listen to the story he tells to introduce his work Loose Id. Bryant's intent was to convey something unfiltered and authentic, and as you'll hear in the work that follows his introduction, he succeeds.


Bryant has successfully written for wind ensembles and concert bands. His straight-forward musical language appeal not only to audiences but to younger players as well. Although his Anthem may have points of similarity with Aaron Copland and Vincent Persichetti, this is refreshingly original and energetic music.

Dusk shows another facet of this composer's style. Bryant want to convey emotion, but not all of it is high-energy. This is quiet, elegiac work. There's a different kind of emotion at work here, one of poignant contemplation and hope.

Suite Dreams shows Bryant's skill at orchestration. Note how he achieves the atmospheric swirls of sound he's after (and you can see it in the score).

Stephen Bryant is very much a 21st Century composer. He has his own YouTube channel (Stephen Bryant)  that not only has videos about his music, but other posts that take you behind the scenes into the life of the composer. And while it will be sometime before you'll hear his music aired on a classical music station (that's a separate issue with me), you can audition a good portion of his catalog on his SoundCloud site. And of course, he can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr as well.

So even though I couldn't find many old-school CDs to refer to under "Recommended Recordings," you can easily find more music by this outstanding composer through other means. And I encourage you to do so!

Recommended Recordings:

Radiant Joy

New Music from Bowling Green, Vol. 5

No comments:

Post a Comment