Friday, December 09, 2011

CCC 008 - Joan Tower

Eight weeks, eight composers -- and we're not done yet. Consonant Classical Challenge rolls on with Joan Tower.Tower is a well-respected composer and pianist, at one time playing the renowned Da Capo chamber Players. Tower's early music was heavily influenced by serialism, but as her style matured, it became more lyrical and more impressionistic in harmonic construction.

Joan Tower sprang to prominence with her work "Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman," an occasional piece inspired by Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man." It's a work that's often programmed and recorded. Here's a performance of that work.

The work was so popular, Joan Tower actually ended up writing five such fanfares. But there's much more. Here's a movement from her piano concerto. Remember, Tower's a talented pianist, so she knows exactly what a top-flight performer can do (and asks them to do it). At the same time, musicality isn't sacrificed for technique.

 Joan Tower recently completed an interesting tour of the United States. "Made in America" was commissioned collectively by 65 small orchestras across the country, and Tower traveled (I believe) to just about every one for the premier of her work. A far cry from the stereotype of the academic writing in an ivory tower (no pun intended).

Joan Tower's music is vibrant and exciting -- and much of it is quite accessible to the common man -- or uncommon woman.

Recommended Recordings

Joan Tower: Made in America

Joan tower: Concertos

Joan Tower: Fanfares for the Uncommon Woman

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