June 18, 2024

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Review of Ilan Volkoff-Coates: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 16

Review of Ilan Volkoff-Coates: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 16

The new CD release of the Munich Chamber Orchestra conducted by Ilan Volkov with music by Gloria Coates is an impressive reminder of the pioneer.

In August 2023, American composer Gloria Coates died in her new home in Munich at the age of 89. It opened up new musical vistas, for example through the unique differentiation of the string sound. You can hear it, for example, in her Second Symphony “Music on Open Strings” from the 1970s: for this piece, the strings of stringed instruments are reset on a scale of five notes, as in the pentatonic scale of the Far Eastern tradition. Building on this source material, Coates unleashes tremendous vocal power. This is sensitively executed on Coates' current album for the Munich Chamber Orchestra with conductor Ilan Volkov, creating a tension that never fades. Two other orchestral and symphonic songs are also captivating, where you can hear wonderful microtonal sliding, shimmering sound surfaces and complex polyphonic structures. A touching memory of Raed.

© Astrid Ackermann

Ilan Volkov

Ilan Volkov

Coates: Symphony No. 1 “Music for Open Strings” and Symphony No. 16 “Frozen Time”, “We Vote Alone” and “Cette blanche Agnie”

Jessica Niles (soprano), Tobias Vogelmann (English horn and flute), Munich Chamber Orchestra, Ilan Volkov (conductor)
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