Dramatic Compilation of New Music By Peter Greve
This latest release of Peter Greve’s music is a follow up to a collection form 2021 (Navona 6257). As with that release, Oerbos & Other Works (Navona 6381) provides listeners with a collection of Greve’s work in different genres across both orchestral and chamber music. Six pieces paint a broad swath of exploration of his style here.
The album is bookened by two works for orchestra. It takes its title from the opening brief symphonic poem which is cast across four sections. There is some colorful writing for wind band in Oerbos which has a sound reminiscent of mid-century Universal film music a la Hans Salter. A Symfonietta closes the album and features descriptive narration to set up the story prior to each movement. This is another descriptive orchestral work set in Scandinavian mythology and following a family of trolls faced with harsh winter. It is a fine dramatic work again recalling those filmic styles of the 1940s/1950s.
Greve’s modern dramatic musical language comes to the fore in a set of variations, In Memoriam. This is a rather intimate work for clarinet, cello, and piano. The interaction between the two primary instruments works quite well. Some extended harmonic material also has a slight tinge of jazz, aided by some syncopated rhythms. There are some quite stark, more experimental moments that incorporate sounds and effects a bit. Dialogues switches out the wind instrument to a flute and also adds a narrated segment as well. These pieces bring out some of this movement toward and from conflict. Both make for fascinating listening with their modern harmonic language still being accessible.
A couple of keyboard works also appear. More unusual is Prelude, Chorale & Voluntary which is scored for carillon with organ samples. It is a quite strange piece with the outdoor recording of the carillon creating its own audio challenges that are somehow overcome here. The organ style is in keeping with modern organ styles staying somewhat tonal with references to previous eras. The modernist Sonatina is an opportunity to hear Greve explore cells of material as organizing forces. It in some ways lays open some of the underlining approach that is part of his style heard in the other pieces.
The sound of the release equalizes mostly well with the carillon/organ work providing its requisite sonic challenges. These seem to be addressed well enough to not require to much adjustment once one’s volume level is set. The recordings have a crisper as well as drier feel.