The four orchestral works of composer Elena Ruehr that are assembled on this alluring disc by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project are striking for their combination of rhapsodic, almost sinful lushness and a robust force that keeps the effect from cloying. Her signature orchestrational move is to pull you in with the strings and then let the brass punch you in the gut, and it works every time — even when you know it’s coming. Even the overall course of the disc works that way. It opens with the aptly named “Shimmer,” an enticingly patterned work for string orchestra that establishes just how beautifully Ruehr can write when that’s her goal. Then come “Vocalissimus,” in which a pugnacious solo trumpet keeps weighing into the process, and “Cloud Atlas,” a winningly detailed treatment of the great David Mitchell novel, in which cellist Jennifer Kloetzel of the Cypress String Quartet takes a solo role. The title work, a triptych inspired by three of Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings, brings things to an expansive and evocative close.
San Francisco Chronicle
March 19, 2015