Roger Lasher Nortman Symphony No. 6, Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 3 Genre: Classical
Nortman's Symphony No. 6 and Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 3 present a side of the composer that is out of character with most of his other works. These three works present a side of the composer out of character with most of his output. The lyrical Symphony No. 6 in Bb Major in 3 movements features Soprano and Harp in the 2nd Movement. Nortman after writing five dramatic symphonies, this is almost pastoral in its lyrical demeanor. It is especially apparent in the melodic flow of the 1st Movement. The Scherzo middle movement sings subjective poetry by a talented poetess and is both melodic and dramatic. The Finale is rhythmic with strings playing staggered bowing. The 2nd and 3rd Piano Concerti, both in minor, are cast in a more clipped and less romantic vein, exhibiting the influences of Prokofiev as well as Rachmaninoff and the Germans. The rapid, surging pace of the 1st Movement. belies the multitude of pages in the work. Rather than any respite, the work is in three fast movements, the 2nd being a sprightly scherzo with so interesting harmonic changes, The Finale is perpetual motion throughout. While the 3rd Concerto with Tenor and Bass Vocals is stylistically like the 2nd, the former has only two movements, almost as if it had a program. The 1st Movement., desperately impassioned, could represent the storm and stress of life. The 2nd Movement., andante con moto, begins in a reflective, ruminative manner and gradually grows more agitated until diminished harmonies introduce two male voices, a tenor and a bass: they sing philosophically about life. The sentences are marshaled together with appropriate dramatic musical background. A sudden interruption in the Major brings the Concerto to an end. We have here three brief works, two vocal, by Mr. Nortman, a composer whose specialty is symphonic grandeur.