The next composer in our Consonant Classical Challenge series is David Del Tredici. Aaron Copland liked him, calling Del Tredici "a creator with a truly original gift." And no wonder. Del Tredici has an affinity for the human voice, and most of his works are either for voice and chamber ensemble, or voice and orchestra.
David Del Tredici's music is similar to Leonard Bernstein's in that it falls somewhere between Broadway and the concert hall. Like Bernstein (and Copland), Del Tredici writes in an American style, although it's difficult to say exactly where the "Americanisms" are in his music. One of the best examples of his work is "Final Alice," an opera meant to be performed in a concert setting.
Although Del Tredici favors the human voice, he is equally accomplished at writing just for instruments. His work "In Wartime" for wind ensemble demonstrates his compositional skill. As the title suggests, this is a dramatic work with powerful emotions that Del Tredici effectively conveys while using a mostly conservative musical idiom.
"Tattoo" is one of Del Tredici's works for full orchestra. Will it appeal to everyone? The musical language is certainly familiar, but this is not a work that sits in the corner and provides some nice easy listening. Del Tredici's compositions demand the audience's full attention -- and rewards that attention with well-crafted and emotionally fulfilling music.
Although David Del Tredici is better known in vocal circles, there's no reason (that I can hear) why his works shouldn't be performed regularly in the concert hall. Del Tredici's music shares some elements with that of modern Broadway. And that makes his music relevant to contemporary audiences. Yet it's still mainstream enough to be understandable to more traditional-minded classical audiences. After all, Copland liked Del Tredici...
Tredici: Final Alice
Del Tredici: In Memory of a Summer Day
Tredici: Steps For Orchestra/Haddock's Eyes