Review Summary: A midsummer day's dream..
I have no qualms or reservations calling Casey Crescenzo a modern musical genius. The man has proven through his young life he knows just how to squeeze the good stuff out his band, The Dear Hunter, and himself without devolving to gaudy theatrics. Banking on the notion that thousands more people felt this way, Crescenzo started a Kickstarter campaign in August 2013 to help him travel to the Czech Republic to compose and record his first symphony with the BRNO Orchestra. This endeavor has culminated in Amour & Attrition
, a heartwarmingly lighthearted and whimsical four piece movement that feels right at home with Crescenzo’s other works.
Amour & Attrition’s
first movement begins with a sunrise, an escalating concert of strings, piano, and woodwinds that really sets the tone for the entire symphony. Much of Amour & Attrition
is driven by different variations of these three sections of instrumentation and really reminds one of what made Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue
so enchanting and catchy. For better or for worse, Crescenzo largely projects a strongly jovial mood throughout the piece with only “Movement III” showcasing flashes of suspense (but bubbly suspense) through use of heavy punctuated blasts of percussion, tubas, and the harsh, sharp shrill of the strings. Interestingly, especially in today’s music landscape, Amour & Attrition
, utilizes only traditional orchestral instruments, no ambient passages, no guitar, no electronic accompaniment of any kind. This traditional approach however really serves to draw the listener into the ambiance and mood the symphony exudes and does so quite well.
Attached to the perpetual lighthearted nature of this piece is a lack of dynamism. The aforementioned mood shift in “Movement III” while conspicuous, isn’t exactly moving or powerful as it retains the foul odor of a cheerful outcome. Crescenzo’s crescendos have some definite pop, but never quite reach the level of bombast that would have injected that feeling of awe Amour & Attrition
could have benefitted from. This is not to say Amour & Attrition
drags on, on the contrary, the music does a wonderful job of pulling the listener through its colorful imagery and warm atmosphere. Crescenzo’s placement of minor scales and the odd instrument change here and there ensures the listener’s attention is firmly in grasp. This is especially true for the symphony’s closing act, which paints a vibrant sunset to go along with the piece’s radiant daytime setting.
You can tell that Crescenzo stayed within his comfort zone with Amour & Attrition
. It’s not genre defining, it’s not going to induce mind-breaking, sob-inducing epiphanies, but it’s a fine example of lighthearted classical music. At under 40 minutes, Amour & Attrition
doesn’t outstay its welcome but conveys it’s intent with happy-go-lucky gusto. What we have here is the result of a man accomplishing his dream. And while the cries of “GIVE ME ACT 4!!!” will continue to be peppered throughout the internet forums and boards, Crescenzo should rightly be proud of what he’s created in Amour & Attrition
. Hell, I am and I don’t even know the man.