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Five: Concerto for Amplified Cello and Orchestra

vc Solo,2(picc)22(bcl)2(cbsn) 4231 t,p(2),hp,str

Five, a concerto for amplified cello and orchestra, starts this recording off, yet another in a distinguished series of compositions Wuorinen has written for the cellist Fred Sherry.  Dating from 1987, it is the most recent piece on this disc and (to employ, reluctantly, what has become an increasingly noxious code word) probably the most “accessible.”  Five – cast, appropriately, in five movements – begins with an arresting modal wail for the cello, almost raga-like in its flavor, yet devoid of the cosmetic pseudo-Orientalism a lesser composer might have employed.  Diversity abounds: In the opening movement (and most of the others) the meter changes every measure or two; only the brisk second movement is in 5/4 throughout.  Movement three is a solemn, impassioned meditation while the finale may be likened to an exhilarating contrapuntal race – one that ends, literally, with a bang.

-From liner note by Tim Page

"Without doubt one of the festival's most distinguished musical events...Wuorinen remains a leading light of American contemporary music." New York Times "Another distinguished score from Charles Wuorinen." Financial Times "This is a five-movement score of energetic yet refined invention--exuberant."  The New Yorker "One of Wuorinen's most engaging works ... The sense of fun tamed only by Wuorinen's irrepressible lyricism." San Francisco Examiner