The highlight of the work (and this disc) is the second movement, an absolutely heart-wrenching setting (and performance) of Wondrous Love . . . If this does not give you goose-bumps, nothing will.
"We Remember Them," a tender memorial work by Austin composer Donald Grantham . . . that seems to take in its all-embracing arms lost souls from the Holocaust through September 11 and beyond
High spirits continue in J'ai été au bal (1999), an homage to dance music indigenous to Louisiana by . . . Donald Grantham. Cajun tunes begin and end the work, and the middle section swings in New Orleans style . . . with impressive solos from tuba, trombone, string bass, trumpet, and percussion.
Grantham works are rarely without a sense of humor. His music is jazz-influenced, strongly tonal, elegant, and well constructed. “Starry Crown” is based on three gospel melodies, “Some of These Days,” “Oh Rocks,” “Don’t Fall on Me,” and “When I Went Down to the Valley.”
. . . his Louisiana-inspired J'ai été au bal (I went to the dance), with its artful use of Cajun tunes, is an ear-pricking, toe-tapping delight. The music’s panoply of colours and rhythms is superbly caught; . . .
Grantham’s La canción desesperada...grips from first to last, with a continuity and expressiveness fully suited to the choral medium. Grantham’s mastery of the art is...a significant addition
The final passage . . . turned the forceful choral work into something soothing and lovely, with Grantham achieving a striking contrast between the fearful and the serene
I’ve previously had occasion in these pages to sing the praises of Donald Grantham (b. 1947) as one of America’s finest living composers of concert band music
a delightful arrangement of "Exhilaration" saw a trio of violinists on their feet, more fiddlers than classical musicians
Robert Louis Stevenson's nefarious character is treated to a range of dazzling orchestral coloration and dramatic incident. Grantham… creates atmospheres with a witty, vivid hand
Then came an abrupt about-face, a loose, sensuous spin across the dance floor via Baron Cimetière's Mambo.
Donald Grantham, in his brilliant Southern Harmony , bestows a similarly innovative and ingenious treatment to American folk-based material...