Peter Child: Shanti (BMOP/sound)
The three works by Peter Child on this new release demonstrate the MIT composer’s remarkable stylistic diversity. Billed as a concert overture, “Jubal” packs the material of a four-movement symphony into a 15-minute span, filled with whirlwind motivic development, dense harmonies, and orchestra writing of Mahlerian exuberance. “Adirondack Voices” takes as its starting point three folk songs from the Adirondack Region of New York; these give the music strong tonal roots and a spaciousness reminiscent of Copland, though there are intimations of danger in the final movement, “The Jam on Gerry’s Rock.” The title work, “Shanti,” is an eight-movement suite based on scales and modes from Indian music, with each movement illustrating one of the core concepts (or “rasas”) of Indian music. Here Child’s music reaches its greatest expressive breadth, from quiet trance to blazing outbursts that distantly recall Messiaen’s ecstatic visions. Whatever echoes of past composers are audible, Child’s voice is abundantly evident. BMOP’s performances live up to their usual high standard, and the brass playing is outstanding.