Dedicated to reviews and news of music for film, TV and games

Friday, May 16, 2008


Symphony No.1: The Four Elements
Music by Chris Walden
Origin Classical OC 33002 (US)
4 Tracks 40:45 mins

German composer in America Chris Walden has had a diverse musical career to date, composing for films, arranging for orchestras the world over, and for TV shows such as American Idol, as well as creating the leading West Coast big band the Chris Walden Big Band. Through all this, he has long held the ambition to write a symphony. At last this ambition has been realised with the release of this enhanced CD recording of his Symphony No.1: The Four Elements.
As the title would suggest, the piece has four movements: Earth, Water, Air and Fire.
Gaia (earth) opens appropriately with a big bang, a thunderous orchestral crash which arrives out of the blue and nearly knocks you off your chair - so be warned. Thereafter, the movement is varied, at times almost majestic, at others less interesting, with the strings playing a "long sustaining D-flat," representative of the frequency the Earth swings at.
Hudor (water) starts out pizzicato, suggestive of rain drops falling, before gradually developing into a raging torrent, which eventually dies away. Throughout, the strings dominate.
Aer (air) features some light string writing, suggestive of stillness, but with a solo viola playing expressively as the movement continues. The tranquil feeling is only broken by the introduction of a more brassy, turbulent feel towards the end.
Therma (Fire) is probably the boldest movement, with some powerful and menacing moments, one almost martial in its bombast, as this sometimes destructive element does its worse. The themes explored in the previous movements are also reprised during the movement, before the composer, who also conducts the piece incidentally, brings the work to a thunderous close.
The accompanying booklet features notes by the composer, together with a biography, but the disc is enhanced, so pop it into your PC to enjoy a behind the scenes look at the recording of the score, with the composer and others involved talking about the work, as well as film of the sessions. You can also catch an EPK at
I'm not expert on classical music, but this is a finely written, performed and recorded work, worthy of exploration.


Post a Comment

<< Home