My Uncle’s House

San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas

Charles Ives wasn’t the only American whose true passion, despite extreme success in business, was to compose music completely not of its time. Son of billionaire oilman J. Paul Getty, Gordon Getty went into the family business to please his father, but what he really wants to do is compose music, which is principally vocal and in a willfully 19th century tonal language. “Passion and ideals are what move me, and they were central to the pre-modern ethic,” Getty explains in the notes contained in the lavish booklet that accompany a new CD devoted to his music. Young America, a 2001 cantata for chorus and orchestra to texts by Stephen Vincent Benet and the composer, here performed by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, shows all bets are off when trying to make generalizations about 21st century American music.


—FJO