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Boyer: Ellis Island - The Dream of America

Peter Boyer & Philharmonia Orchestra

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Customer Reviews

A Fantastic Piece of Contemporary American Classical

In "Ellis Island - The Dream of America," Peter Boyer has composed a stunningly beautiful and emotionally evocative piece in the tradition of Aaron Copland's "Lincoln Portrait." Combing neo-romantic music with the spoken word, "Ellis Island - The Dream of America" tells the autobiographical tales of seven immigrants of the early 20th century. With both powerful solo orchestral passages and effective orchestral accompaniment colorings, this piece should prove an enjoyable listen for the experienced American classical music enthusiast and the inexperienced, alike.

Ellis Island: A Perfect Balance of Art and Accessibility

Finding the balance between art and its initial accessibility to an intended audience can be one of the greatest challenges facing the contemporary composer. Too much art, and new music loses the competition for the listener’s ear to the great composers of history. Too little art, and new music begins to sound shallow after a few listenings. Peter Boyer’s “Ellis Island” is both accessible and deep, deep enough to listen to again and again. For we who are Americans, “Ellis Island” even carries us beyond the art of music and inspires us to remember what has historically made America great. “Ellis Island” creatively uses the narratives of seven people who came to America through the immigration station at Ellis Island as a general structure for its large form and its initial accessibility. Distinguished actors such as Academy Award winner Olympia Dukakis, and Tony Award winner Barry Bostwick capably personify the narratives. Combined with multi-media pictures when performed live, “Ellis Island” is gaining momentum and popularity by being programmed by increasing numbers of orchestras across America. Boyer’s themes are memorable, even singable. Because the subject of this work is part of American history, the orchestral colors are appropriately reminiscent of Aaron Copland’s “American” works. Like a great film score, “Ellis Island” gives a theme to each of its colorful, narrated characters and then combines them all into one highly enjoyable, even inspiring symphonic work.

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