Puts: Symphony No 2; River's Rush; Flute Concerto

Reviewed on Mon 10 Oct, 2016

The single-span Second Symphony (2002) vividly illustrates the trauma of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, its transition from blissful innocence through horror to reflective epilogue richly described in music of striking candour.

In its unabashed emotion, high drama and cinematic sweep, the music of Kevin Puts (b.1972) is recognisably American. Certainly it owes a debt to the warmth of Copland, to Barber’s poetry and the energy of Bernstein, while remaining distinctly its own with decidedly contemporary details constantly catching the ear. A sweeping impressionistic portrait of the mighty Mississippi, River’s Rush (2004) is an orchestral tour de force employing novel harmonies to ink in the robust grandeur of its subject. The single-span Second Symphony (2002) vividly illustrates the trauma of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, its transition from blissful innocence through horror to reflective epilogue richly described in music of striking candour. The Flute Concerto (2013, rev.2014) offers translucent balm of its own, the bright and solo instrument held aloft by a characterful orchestral accompaniment that approvingly calls to mind Virgil Thomson. Marin Alsop and the Peabody Symphony Orchestra are entirely persuasive advocates of music that has much to recommend it.
–Michael Quinn