Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Paul Fetler, American Composer

Paul Fetler (b. 1920) only now enjoys a CD exclusively devoted to his music (Naxos 8.559606). Arie Lipsky conducts the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra in a program of three works that seemingly give you a good idea of this relatively unknown American composer. His composition teachers are one place to start to give you an idea of his musical style; they are David Van Vactor, Quincy Porter and Paul Hindemith. While Fetler is in no way a clone of these masters, he does share with them a kind of modernist, tonal lyricism. The "Three Poems by Walt Whitman (1976)," "Capriccio (1985)," and "Violin Concerto No. 2 (1980)" share a skillful use of orchestral color, atmospheric evocativeness and the long-phrased quality of late romantic tone poem exposition.

Violinist Aaron Berofsky does a fine job with the solo role in the Poems and the Concerto, and a vivid sound stage on this recording brings Felter's music to life. He may not be one of the prime movers of his musical age, but his music has charm. Hindemith he isn't. He is Fetler.

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