Friday, June 07, 2013

CCC 074 - Jean-Claude Amiot

Sometimes it seems like the real challenge of the Consonant Classical Challenge is to find composers that fit the criteria -- and have enough music available to share. The former isn't that difficult. The whole point of the CCC is to demonstrate that there are living composers still writing original, interesting music that should appeal to both traditional and newer classical audiences.

The latter, though, has sometimes forced me to forgo adding a composer to the list. For this series I like to have at least three selections I can embed into the post. After all, hearing the music is the whole point. The samples let you determine how accurately I've characterized the composer's work. I also like offer recording recommendations, so if you like the composer, you can explore their catalog more thoroughly on your own. And those record/download sales can help the composer.

Jean-Claude Amiot (b. 1939) is right on the borderline. This French composer has enjoyed a long career, working with Dimitris Mitropoulos, Leonard Bernstein and Leopold Stokowski. He's composed two operas, plus works for orchestra, chamber groups, and even brass orchestra. But there are no recordings of his music available in the U.S., and to follow are all the examples I could find of his work.

Amiot writes in a clean, modern style similar (to my ears) to that of Leonard Bernstein's. His rhythms sometimes borrow from popular music, but at no time does Amiot write in a pop style. His melodies use dissonance and resolution to great effect.

Tour Eiffel (Paris des Lumières) is a good example of Amiot's style. The music has a cosmopolitan sound to it (like Bernstein's Broadway scores), with strikingly original orchestration. There's also a pronounced jazz influence in this score, though more Bernstein than Gershwin in character.


Tékédé is a ballet score that offers Amiot the opportunity to present many different moods and instrumental combinations. It's a work I'd certainly enjoy hearing live -- his use of open fourths and fifths is clever and effective.

Based on the few works I've heard by Jean-Claude Amiot, I'd like to hear more. There are no recordings or downloads available that I could find, unfortunately. His brass orchestra works are called out in his biographies -- an unusual ensemble, indeed. Will more Amiot be available in time? I certainly hope so.

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