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Album No. 31 | Released 2015


Album Playlist


About the Album

The ancient Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle theorized that all physical matter emanated from the four basic elements: Fire, Air, Water, and Earth. Before modern science would prove otherwise, this idea was adopted and developed by many prominent cultures across the globe. In India and Tibet, a fifth element sometimes called Aether accounted for the space or consciousness beyond the physical world, and the Chinese added other elements to the fundamental four, including wood and metal. These variations began to acknowledge that the elements were influenced by each other, especially within the relationship between the earthly world and its human inhabitants. It was the legendary physician Hippocrates who labeled the human connection to the elements, asserting that the body contained four corresponding “humors” whose proportions determined one’s health and emotional disposition. Music has always had a place in the philosophical assessment of humanity. Plato once wrote, “Music gives a soul to the universe…and life to everything.” The works on this recording explore the elements of antiquity specifically from the human perspective and the nature of our interaction with the physical and meta-physical world. Igor Stravinsky’s Fireworks is a sonic picture of the man-made version of Fire; the Water represented in Leonard Bernstein’s score to the iconic film On the Waterfront serves as the ever-present witness to a story saturated with extremes of human emotion; Darius Milhaud’s depiction of La Création du monde (The Creation of the Earth) is seen through the eyes of the first man and woman born within it, and the Air that powers the moving hymns of Warren Benson’s The Passing Bell memorializes our eventual departure from that world. Along with these four Classical elements, Jennifer Higdon’s Percussion Concerto adds music made by metal and wood to illuminate the incessant and dramatic interplay between man and the elements. 


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1. Igor Stravinsky (trans. Rogers): Fireworks, Opus 4

2. Jennifer Higdon (transcribed by the composer): Percussion Concerto

MGySgt. Christopher Rose, percussion soloist

3. Warren Benson: The Passing Bell

4. Darius Milhaud: La Creation du monde, Opus 81a

5. Leonard Bernstein (trans. Bocook): Symphonic Suite from On the Waterfront