Composers Nan Schwartz & Brenton Broadstock: Orchestral Music - watch the video, read the review
Buy the CD
Visit Nan Schwartz’ website
Visit Brenton Broadstock’s website
Visit conductor Kevin Purcell’s website
Hollywood-based film and television composer, arranger, songwriter, conductor, producer and powerhouse Grammy Award winner (best arrangements for Natalie Cole), five time Grammy nominee and seven time Emmy nominee Nan Schwartz has released a fascinating disc of her orchestral music on the Divine Art label (2018) that recounts her journey as a master of composition and genie of the magic carpet ride that is orchestral color, harmonic purpose and narrative landscape rooted in personal experience. This disc presents premiere recordings of four Schwartz orchestral works - Aspirations, Perspectives, Romanza and Angels Among Us.
Sharing the CD is a premiere recording by Australian composer Brenton Broadstock, his four-movement Made in Heaven: Concerto for Orchestra. Recipient of a 2014 AM - Member of the Order of Australia - for significant service to music as a composer, educator and mentor, Broadstock was Professor of Music and Head of Composition on the Faculty of Music, University of Melbourne from 1982 to 2007. His orchestral and chamber music, including six symphonies, several orchestral works, four concertos, three string quartets, a chamber opera and a raft of chamber music for diverse instruments is performed regularly by the major orchestras and chamber groups of Australia and throughout the world.
Antipodes literally and figuratively - Schwartz lives in Los Angeles, Broadstock in Melbourne; hers has been a career in the hardscrapple world of Hollywood filmmaking, his rooted in academia - both nevertheless enjoy common ground in their love and respect for jazz that is deliciously palpable on this disc. A mastery of compositional lyricism and inventive orchestration seals the bond between the two composers and makes this CD so interesting.
Schwartz has been awash since childhood in encounters with legendary jazz artists who were regulars at her parents’ home in Hollywood. Her music is infused with that aesthetic. Aspirations, which opens the CD features soloists Harry Allen tenor sax and pianist Lee Musiker and speaks vividly to Schwartz’ understanding of the art of orchestration and her unerring sense of harmonic movement; purposeful, emotive and full of textured character. Perspectives features Jon Delaney on electric guitar in a mellow, convivial dialectic with pianist Musiker to sophisticated jazzy orchestral asides à la Henry Mancini. Violinist Dimitrie Leivici is the soloist for Schwartz’ Romanza, where the composer’s careful construction of emotional electricity and frisson colors the narrative beautifully.
Angels Among Us features trumpeter Mat Jodrell and is the most sophisticated of the four Schwartz works on this CD. The opening bars of the piece shimmer with suspense; Schwartz’ use of the trumpet’s low register creates an evocative and touching narrative ambiance; jazz colors abound discreetly; a solo trumpet cadenza and vibrant coda end the quasi-concerto in a splash of breathtaking chutzpah. Trumpet soloists, take note!
Brenton Broadstock’s Made in Heaven Concerto For Orchestra (2009/2013) is an abstract tribute to the iconic jazz recording Kind of Blue (1959) that featured a royal family of jazz artists including Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley, John Coltrane, Wynton Kelly, Bill Evans, Paul Chambers and Jimmy Cobb. The concerto’s four movements - So What?, Flamenco Sketches, Blue in Green and All Blues are cyphers, Broadstock’s compositional language opaque rather than literal. Like Schwartz, Broadstock is a master of ebb and flow, managing the vast orchestral soundscapes of Made in Heaven with magical realist results, like the sound imagery in Flamenco Sketches, the quizzical temperament of So What? and moody introversion of Blue in Green. Rhythm and pulse the heart and soul of jazz, bring Broadstock’s visionary homage full circle with the playful last movement All Blues.
Two wonderful orchestras, the Synchron Stage Orchestra Vienna (Schwartz) and the Bratislava Studio Symphony (Broadstock) perform splendidly under conductor Kevin Purcell.
Daniel Kepl | Performing Arts Review
DANIEL KEPL INTERVIEWS COMPOSER NAN SCHWARTZ
Nan Schwartz Grammy-winner's new orchestral music
Made in Heaven (Version for Orchestra) : II. Flamenco Sketches
Composer Brenton Broadstock
Nan Schwartz: Romanza
nan Schwartz: Aspirations
Conductor Kevin Purcell
Composer Nan Schwartz