Tribute

The first time I heard Marin Alsop conduct was back when she led Concordia, a chamber orchestra devoted to finding the elusive meeting point between contemporary so-called classical music and more—to invoke the dreaded “so-called” again—vernacular forms of expression. A new MMC disc offers three such musical explorations by John Carbon, William Thomas McKinley, and Peter Homans. But the composer that most sparked my curiosity, since I had never before heard a note of his music, was Homans, a one-time Donald Martino student who took a 12-year hiatus from musical composition to pursue a successful career in money management. While Homans is not quite a latter day Charles Ives, his Tribute—a series of homages to Frank Zappa, Bill Evans, and Igor Stravinsky—makes a compelling case for blurring musical categories, and not always ones you might think. To my ears, the Igor movement conjured Zappa’s sense of rock abandon as much as the Frank movement captured Bill Evans’s impeccable sense of jazz timing. Wonder if Marin will ever program this in Baltimore?


—FJO