Review By The Cheerful Earfull!,February 2010
…the most popular artists featured on “The Cheerful Earfull.” First up, an effort from a renown composer who’s peeking out at us all impish-like.
Yes, it’s John Corigliano. I only recently got my grubby paws on his “Dylan Thomas Trilogy.” Trust me, you’ll love this massively entertaining combo of music, poetry and soaring vocals. I know I do.
Review By ,Classical Giz,November 2008
A stunning new release from the Nashville Symphony, who seem to thrive on conquering the difficulties of modern music. They really seem to shine in the challenges modern American composers throw their way (and Corigliano has more than his share). Indeed their absolute best CDs are of music written in the last 15 years (witness their Grammy-winning Joan Tower…the challenge this time is a massive “cantata” with chorus and soloists with poetry texts by Dylan Thomas. The cantata follows Dylan Thomas’ life from young boy (“Fern Hill”, the most tonal movement with chorus and boy soprano soloist), to his 30th year (“Poem in October” for tenor soloist) to just a few years before his death (“Poem on His Birthday” with baritone
Sir Thomas Allen, the world-famous baritone serves not only as soloist in the last section, but as vocal narrator all the way through. He is absolutely amazing, with no loss of vocal skill after all these years. The CD is worth it for him alone.
Tenor John Tessier is also outstanding (let’s hope we hear a lot more from him in the future). Neither soloist seems to have the least problem negotiating the treacherous vocal lines, and they really bring the words alive. Boy soprano Ty Jackson also does a nice job with his solos.
The Nashville Chorus has never sounded better in what must be an extremely difficult choral part. Their tone in “Fern Hill” is especially outstanding, and easily competes with any of the other existing recordings of just this section. (This section has been recorded elsewhere separately, but this is the premiere recording of the complete cantata.)
A special mention should be made of the recording engineering, some of the finest sound heard on a Naxos disc. The orchestra is well-balanced and the sound has a gorgeous “bloom” to it—while capturing the excitement of the performance in the moment. The balance between all of the elements (orchestra, chorus, soloists) is impeccable.