Gloria Coates: Symphony No. 15 (Cantata da Requiem; Transitions)

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Weighing in on this album with her 15th symphony, composer Gloria Coates (OM 17) holds the clear record for the most symphonies by a female composer. Those already familiar with her previous 14 contributions will recognize her familiar bag of tricks, most notably her prevalent use of glissandos. As in previous examples of her orchestra writing, Coates' 15th symphony is again concerned more with texture than melody, and this symphony represents her most abstract development and exploration of the textural possibilities of an orchestra. 

This CD also contains Coates' 1972 Cantata da Requiem. Although many of her trademark compositional techniques are still present, her treatment of vocal music is much more melodically oriented. The text draws from English and German wartime excerpts from everything from weather reports to newspaper articles. Soprano Teri Dunn and the Talisker Players do an exemplary job of capturing the meaning of color of the text. Closing out the album is Transitions, composed in 1984. This work, which is somewhat of a small chamber symphony, was later expanded into what was to become her Fourth Symphony. Here again we see Coates turning to a more textural, exploratory approach to composition, markedly differing from the Requiem. (Review from AllMusic.com by Mike Brownell)

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