American composer Michael Daugherty is the featured artist this time for the Consonant Classical Challenge.
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.
appealing, relevant, and well written. Why don't more orchestras lighten
up and program Daugherty's music? I don't know either.
Daugherty: Metropolis Symphony
Michael Daugherty: Philadelphia Stories; UFO
Daugherty: Route 66; Ghost Ranch; Sunset Strip; Time Machine