Friday, January 06, 2012

CCC 012 Robert Ward

We continue the Consonant Classical Challenge with American composer Robert Ward.

Robert Ward is one of the those composers who's managed to build an impressive career while somehow not attracting the attention of the concert-going public. Professionally, he's served on the faculties of Julliard, Columbia, and Duke. His opera, The Crucible has entered the repertoire and is performed worldwide. His music has been championed by Eugene Ormandy (among others), and he's well-regarded professionally.

Ward's music has very clean lines and with a distinctive American flavor. He sometimes favors the jazz inflections of Gerswhin, all served up in a mostly good-natured fashion. His Violin Concerto is a good example of Ward's style. Technically challenging, it still guides the listener along through the work.

Robert Ward also favors lyrical melodies. In the Concertino for Strings there are some beautifully simple melodies that have an American folk-like quality to them.

Ward is no stranger to large-scale forms. His large body of work includes six operas, three concertos and six symphonies. This excerpt from his fourth symphony represents the mature style of Robert Ward, and pulls together all of the sylistic elements found in his earlier works.

Robert Ward has always been concerned about clearly communicating with the audience -- as his music demonstates. For audiences who love Gershwin and Copland (and are perhaps tired of a steady diet of them), a Robert Ward composition should provide a welcome alternative.

Recommended Recordings

Robert Ward: Jubilation Overture; Symphony No. 4; Concerto for Saxophone; Sonic Structure

Robert Ward : Piano Concerto / Symphonies 2 & 3

Scarlet and Blue: Music by Robert Ward Scarlet and Blue: Music by Robert Ward

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