Irving Fine, Complete Orchestral Works
Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Gil Rose, conductor
BMOP Sound 1041
Last year, the centennial of the birth of the American composer Irving Fine, brought some overdue attention to this significant and influential figure. Now there is an essential and rewarding new recording of Fine’s complete orchestra works, performed with expertise, zest and style by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project conducted by Gil Rose. Fine, who died in 1962, fashioned of lucid Neo-Classicism, elements of serialism and a feeling for American vernacular music into his own distinct voice. He founded the music department at Brandeis University and became part of what was became known as the Brandeis School of American Neo-Classicism, which included Fine’s colleagues Harold Shapero and Arthur Berger. It’s good to have these engaging recordings of Fine’s early Toccata Concertante and Notturno for Strings and Harp. And his “Blue Towers” and Diversions for Orchestra are demonstrations of how a composer can write smart, effective and charming works for a pop orchestra. (Both were given premieres by the Boston Pops.) Most important, though, is this arresting account of Fine’s Symphony, composed in 1962 for the Boston Symphony, a major contribution to the American symphonic repertoire that has been inexplicably neglected.