New music from Philip Glass and Mohammed Fairouz

The University of Kansas Wind Ensemble turns in an excellent recording of some challenging and memorable compositions. this university ensemble is first-rate, especially the soloists. The ensemble blend is seamless, and the playing rock-solid.

Philip Glass’ concerto, Fantasy for Two Timpanists and Orchestra, works quite well in this transcription for wind ensemble. Glass’ sparse ensemble writing sounds even more so without strings. The result is a work with a razor-sharp edge to it.

Mohammed Fairouz’s Symphony No. 4 was based on the Art Spiegelman graphic novel “In the Shadow of the Towers.” Fortunately, one doesn’t have to be familiar with the source to make sense of the music. Fairoz’s composition uses the more traditional voicings found in wind ensemble literature. But that doesn’t make this work any less original. His take on Spiegelman’s take on 9/11 juxtaposes the known and familiar with the strange and unknown.

Although the work deals with an emotionally heavy topic, it does so in an authentic fashion. No maudlin tune to mourn the fall of the towers, nor uplifting Coplandesque hymn at the end to signify hope. Fairouz uses a sophisticated musical language to convey the complex and sometimes conflicting emotions 9/11 sparked. And I think he succeeds.

Philip Glass: Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists and Orchestra; Mohammed Fairouz: Symphony No. 4, ‘In the Shadow of No Towers’
University of Kansas Wind Ensemble; Paul W. Popiel, conductor

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


Become a Sponsor

Underwriting WTJU is a way to broadly share information about your business. It’s also a way for your business or organization to gain community-wide recognition for your support of WTJU’s community mission.

Underwrite a Program


Your gift nourishes our community and helps bring people together through music.

Underwrite a Program