The five movements of this sinfonia concertante, as Crockett calls it, evoke the flight of birds in migration and the sweeping winds of the sea. Waves of dissonance, as if warning of future environmental disasters, break the spacious harmonic language at the conclusion. The result is a thoughtful and moving pastoral for the planet.
On the whole, 'Blue Earth' teems with life. The solo instruments - violin, cello, flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon - engage in jerky riffs and energetic runs with each other and the full ensemble. Eventually, these individual conversations unify into a unified voice. The stentorian brass section punctuated the orchestral shout chorus with stinging chords, the trumpets adding the finishing touches with expertly-placed high notes. The loveliest moments came in the second movement. Its play-on-words title, The Four Winds, featured solo oboe, flute, clarinet and bassoon floating soft phrases. To answer, strings supplied a thin harmonic veil that covered the space like a sheen of rain. - Aaron Keebaugh