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Marin Symphony’s tribute to Golden Gate gets critic’s thumbs down

Monday, May 7, 2012

Chronicle music critic Joshua Kosman had some nice things to say about “Chrysopylae,” the 30-minute oratorio from composer Rob Kapilow (pictured) and librettist Fred Newman. (That’s Greek for “Golden Gate,” as befits a work commissioned for the bridge’s 75th anniversary.) But overall he calls it “clunky” and gives it an unsparing review.

Kapilow writes for the orchestra with undeniable flair, and there are passages in "Chrysopylae" that boast a certain rhythmic exuberance - particularly in the finale, when the chorus bursts into a celebratory passage around the phrase "seventy-five years." And the inclusion of the recorded sounds, which could so easily sound gimmicky, is smoothly integrated into the score.
But much of "Chrysopylae" moves in big-boned, predictable strides, like the self-conscious populism of a WPA mural, but without that style's vigor or charm. The chugging rhythms and minor harmonies of the first movement wear out their welcome quickly, and the jazzier strains that come later have a Disney-esque glitter to them.
Read the entire review
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