Road Trip – Adams: Chamber Symphony; Copland: Appalachian Spring (Suite); Ives: The Housatonic at Stockbridge; Trad: Reynardine; The Brown Girl (arr Nico Muhly); Paul Simon: Hearts and Bones (arr Muhly)

Reviewed on Wed 18 Feb, 2015

Make no mistake, there's much to enjoy in the Aurora Orchestra's 'Road Trip' across America. It's a varied and sparky sequence comprising imaginative treatments by Nico Muhly of two sinister folk ballads ('Reynardine' and 'The Brown Girl') and Paul Simon's 'Hearts and Bones' (delivered by vocalists Sam Amidon and Dawn Landes) which in turn link John Adams's madcap Chamber Symphony, the extraordinarily daring and atmospheric evocation that is 'The Housatonic at Stockbridge' (the last of Charles Ives's Three Places in New England, in its 1929 reduced orchestration) and Aaron Copland's sublime Appalachian Spring suite (in its clean-limbed original scoring for just 13 instruments). Nicholas Collon draws some admirably spruce, watchful and hugely committed playing throughout this stimulating album, the first of three we can expect from this dynamic partnership on Warner Classics. Funky artwork and comprehensive presentation, too. Well worth investigating!
–Andrew Achenbach