New Gallagher Symphony Earns Rave Reviews
Critics acclaim new recording of Symphony No. 2
WOOSTER, Ohio, — Early reviews of a newly released recording of Symphony No. 2 "Ascendant" and "Quiet Reflections," composed by Jack Gallagher, the Olive Williams Kettering Professor of Music at The College of Wooster, have elicited high praise from classical music critics. The recording, published internationally in January on the Naxos label, features performances by the London Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Grammy®-award-winning conductor JoAnn Falletta.
Falletta, music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic and Virginia Symphony Orchestras, said Gallagher's "vibrant, complex symphony is a shining example of the best of contemporary music, and it is vividly realized by the London Symphony Orchestra, who played it with great commitment. I was proud to play a part in bringing (this) music to CD, and hope that people everywhere will enjoy the discovery of the work of this superb composer."
Numerous critics have echoed Falletta's sentiments. Steven Ritter of classical review site Audiophile Audition awarded the disc five stars, calling the symphony "one of the best symphonies of our new century." Ritter cited the third movement as containing "some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard. The first five minutes or so are simply astounding in their delicate loveliness."
Critic Merlin Patterson of Fanfare magazine acclaimed the symphony as "a knockout" and "one of the most powerful and moving symphonic statements I have experienced from a work composed in the 21st century." Patterson found the disc to be "an extremely powerful statement (that) stands as a glowing testament to Gallagher's creative art."
Similarly, critic James Tobin, writing for the review site Classical.Net, said "Jack Gallagher's new symphony is a masterpiece. Falletta's conducting and the LSO's playing are first-rate." In addition to Tobin, Fanfare's Colin Clarke described the disc as "expertly scored, exuberant music," observing "the gossamer light touch of the LSO is a joy. The recording...is top rank."
Joining the acclaim were Hawaii Public Radio, which called the release a "stunning premiere recording of a work that can proudly take its place among the great American symphonies," and online reviewer Harry van den Wal of the Netherlands, who declared. "Make no mistake, this composer has staying power. 'Quiet Reflections' is to my ears a masterpiece. A telling example that a composer can still write music that will engender such enthusiasm as mine. The orchestra under Falletta is superb."
The recording has produced positive responses from nearly 120 fine arts radio stations and, in its first three months, been broadcast over New England Public Radio, Colorado Public Radio, Alabama Public Radio, Arizona Public Media, Radio New Zealand, and stations in Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Nashville, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Fairbanks, and Calgary, Canada. Recorded interviews with Gallagher have been aired over "The Classical Network" in New Jersey, New York, and Philadelphia, and on the Classics Radio program "Fine Arts This Week," streamed on the internet.
Gallagher, who was appointed to The College of Wooster Music Faculty in 1977, is presently at work on Symphony No. 3.