Release Date: October 13, 2017
Catalog #: NV6122
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century

Three Orchestral Works

Dwight Beckham Sr. composer
Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra | Petr Vronský conductor

THREE ORCHESTRAL WORKS BY DWIGHT BECKHAM, SR. marks a tremendous sample of American composer Dwight Beckham’s lyrical style and command of the orchestra. Based in Kansas, Beckham is part of an important generation of composers who, in the latter half of the twentieth century, persisted in their pursuit of a classically Romantic aesthetic. To this end, Beckham’s orchestral music is stalwartly thematic, crisply orchestrated, and centered on dramatic melodic and harmonic ideas.

The music on this album demonstrates Beckham is also a facile, expert orchestrator, who can draw any mood with the instruments at hand. In this regard, the album’s longest work, Feather Sound, is the most dynamic. At first plaintive, the piece is enlivened by triumphant percussion and brass, and includes a variety of wonderful textures, particularly in its heavily contrapuntal sections. Feather Sound features an impressive and intricate section dominated by a web of canons, which Beckham deftly illustrates with crystal clear and clever orchestration.

Feather Sound also speaks to Beckham’s attraction to lyrical and thematic melodic material, a characteristic that dominates the other works in this collection. Fanfare 40, though brief, features a handful of memorable themes, some stately and others more delicate and charming. Like in Feather Sound, Beckham is cleverly economical here, and uses sections of counterpoint to re-purpose and disguise his ideas, giving the listener the sense that we are hearing something new, when in fact, the opposite is the case. Fanfare 40 also features structurally significant orchestration, as to the two themes at the heart of work are scored very contrastingly.

Memorial Ode, the remaining work on the album, again demonstrates Beckham’s skill at painting mood through orchestration. Its contemplative opening, scored simply for solo flute and chimes, is extraordinarily compelling, so much so Beckham meaningfully recalls aspects of this texture later in the piece. The remainder of Memorial Ode is dominated by elegant and glorious re-settings of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Sine nomine” hymn tune, which was a favorite of the work’s dedicatee, Harold Romoser.


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Artist Information

Dwight Beckham


Kansas composer Dwight Beckham, Sr. did his undergraduate and graduate work at Wichita University. He has studied composition with Homer Keller, Adrian Pouliot, Harold Moyer, Joshua Missal, and Robert Marek. He has played trumpet with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony Orchestra, and the Wichita Wind Ensemble.

Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra


The Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the foremost and oldest symphony orchestras in the Czech Republic. It is based in the historical capital of Moravia, the city of Olomouc, and has been a leader of music activities in the region for the past 70 years. Its artistic development was directly influenced by distinguished figures from the Czech and international music scene.

Petr Vronský


After successes in several important international competitions for conductors — including the competition in Besancon France in 1971 and the Karajan Competition in Berlin in 1973 — his career began at the opera company in Pilsen. From 1974 to 1978, he was Chief of Opera of the State Theater in Usti nad Labem, Czech Republic. In 1978, he was appointed Chief Conductor of the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra, a position he held until 1991. Vronsky was later appointed Chief Conductor of the Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra Ostrava in 2002.