Jay Greenberg: Finally!
Ok, where to begin? Jay is currently fifteen years old, and this CD is of his fifth Symphony! He wrote this when he was twelve!!! He's already written over one-hundred works, evidently, and so his output is truly early and prodigious. He's already had some of the best teachers out there, including Samuel Adler, whose Orchestration text is indispensable to me, and it shows. He has a profoundly deep and organic mastery of the orchestra, and his compositions are extremely well structured and logical in their layout. He also has an effortless lyricism - doubtless my weakest link - and his melodies transition from dark and brooding to playful and/or joyous; sometimes startlingly, and sometimes so subtly that it actually takes a few seconds for you to notice that your mood has been changed.
It is impossible to escape the term "neo-Romantic" when trying to describe his music, but that term carries some prejudicial baggage with it that certainly ought not to be applied to Mr. Greenberg's work (It makes me laugh to call a fifteen-year-old "Mister"). He's obviously a fan of Bartok, and equally obviously, he's heard a few John Williams film scores. So, there is quite a bit of dissonance, but it never gets "ugly": Close enough to make me cringe though, especially in the String Quintet, where I was laughing at some of the wackier episodes. Oh yeah, he has an awesome musical sense of humor for such a young kid.
So, drag your digital carcass on over to Amazon or the iTunes Store and buy this CD. It really is the most amazing thing my jaded ears have heard in decades.
When I was fifteen all I could think about was girls... some things never change.