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Stephen Paulus (1949-2014): Three Places of Englightenment; Veil of Tears; Grand Concerto for Organ and Orchestra / Nathan Laube, organ

Album Summary

>Paulus, Stephen : Concerto for Violin & orchestra
>Paulus, Stephen : To Be Certain of the Dawn, for String Orchestra
>Paulus, Stephen : Grand Concerto, for organ & orchestra
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Describing himself as 'a composer who can satisfy all kinds', Stephen Paulus possesses a remarkable versatility and gift for the dramatic. Concertos for string quartet and orchestra are a rarity, and Three Places of Enlightenment is both a journey of discovery for the listener and a spectacular showcase for the principal strings of the Nashville Symphony. Both this concerto and the reflective Veil of Tears are considered by the composer among his most significant works. Employing hymn fragments, the Grand Concerto is a work of sweeping gestures and melodies as well as wide contrasts of mood and texture. Nashville Symphony Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero has had a close working relationship with Stephen Paulus for many years.

Expedition Audio Recommended
The concluding minutes of this disc are as grand and powerful as you would hope. The listener is left with an uplifting feeling suitable for an album that has come to serve as a poignant tribute to one of America’s great contemporary composers. On the evidence of this excellent release, Stephen Paulus’s works have secured a well deserved place in the contemporary American repertory, and we should expect to enjoy them in concert halls and on disc for years to come. read more

American Record Guide, March/April 2015
Three Places of Enlightenment is a concerto for string quartet and orchestra, a request from Cleveland Orchestra concertmaster William Preucil. 'Veil of Tears' is a brief piece for string orchestra taken from his 2005 Holocaust oratorio, To Be Certain of the Dawn. This is the first time I've heard anything by Paulus. He could orchestrate and structure his pieces well. He is conservative. The performances are fine; notes are in English.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Laura Turner Hall, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Nashvi.



Reviews

Enlightment
Stephen Paulus (1949-2014) passed away in October following complications from a stroke. This very well regarded American left behind an impressive catalogue of well over 400 works in every possible configuration. It was in the areas of opera and choral music that the composer made his strongest impression. Here we have a new release devoted entirely to the composer’s orchestral music. The Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra “Three Places of Enlightenment” is typical of Paulus’approach, one imbued with strong motivic ideas, rhythmic energy and extensive textural variety. The music unfurls with ease and confidence. “Veil of Tears” originated as part of an oratorio. It’s deeply moving, inhabiting the same tragic universe as the Barber Adagio as well as the countless elegiac slow movements composed by Shostakovich. The Grand Concerto for Organ and Orchestra was a logical departure for Paulus inasmuch as his beloved father, a chemical engineer by profession, was an accomplished church organist as well. In this piece, the organ is exploited not only for its substantial horsepower and pyrotechnical potential, but also for its vast range of color and dynamic nuance. Based solely upon these 3 works, the composer’s reputation is easy to understand. The music is tonally grounded, fresh, methodically constructed and most importantly, nourishing both emotionally and intellectually. Conductor Giancarlo Guerrero, an acknowledged champion of the composer, leads the Nashville Symphony and various soloists in performances that are beautifully shaped. The material is drawn from concerts presented in 2012 and 2013. As expected, Tim Handley’s production is topnotch: the perfect balance between detail and ambience. Excellent liner notes complete this valuable package.
Submitted on 01/02/15 by Allen Cohen 
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Works Details

>Paulus, Stephen : Concerto for Violin & orchestra
  • Performers: Jun Iwasaki (Violin); Anthony LaMarchina (Cello); Daniel Reinker (Viola); Carolyn Wann Bailey (Violin)
  • Conductor: Giancarlo Guerrero
  • Ensemble: Nashville Symphony
  • Notes: Laura Turner Hall, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA (10/04/2012-10/06/2012)
  • Running Time: 24 min. 40 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1987

>Paulus, Stephen : To Be Certain of the Dawn, for String Orchestra :: Veil of Tears
  • Conductor: Giancarlo Guerrero
  • Notes: Laura Turner Hall, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA (10/04/2012-10/06/2012)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 30 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Paulus, Stephen : Grand Concerto, for organ & orchestra
  • Performer: Nathan Laube (Organ)
  • Conductor: Giancarlo Guerrero
  • Notes: Laura Turner Hall, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA (10/04/2013/10/05/2013)
  • Running Time: 27 min. 26 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 2004