American composer David Sanford (b. Pittsburgh 1963) came from a highly musical family. He always had a keen interest in jazz, big and music, and played the trombone. He attended the University of Northern Colorado, The New England Conservatory of Music, and Princeton. Now he is a faculty member at Mount Holyoke College. After studying in Italy in 2002, he formed the Pittsburgh Collective which included both classical and jazz musicians. A number of chamber organizations have performed Sanford's music, and for the past years he has had a close association with master cellist Matt Haimovitz, composing some works specifically for him. Sanford also has a close relationship with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and its conductor\k Gil Rose. They are featured on this SACD which offers premiere recordings of three works beginning with Black Noise, commissioned by BMOP. The title is a pun on "white noise." Program notes by leading Boston author Robert Kirzinger give detailed information about what this work represents. The second piece, Prayer: In Memoriam Dr. Martin Luther King, is an 11-minute work featuring solo flute and trumpet. It contains some dissonant outbursts and ends softly. The disk ends with Scherzo Grosso, a rather odd title for what is basically a 25-minute cello concerto with four sections: According to program notes, this music gives soloist and orchestra the opportunity to " engage in musical behaviors that tap into rock, free jazz and the classical avant-garde." Recordings were made on various dates 2011 0 2017 and engineers have provided a satisfying sonic picture. There are few recordings of music by Sanford, and I can understand why. Here's an opportunity to hear three major works should you be interested. Most listeners will find this music challenging and probably unrewarding as a musical experience. Approach with caution!
Classical CD Review
March 1, 2019