July 14, 2024
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Grantham works are rarely without a sense of humor. His music is jazz-influenced, strongly tonal, elegant, and well constructed. “Starry Crown” was written in 2007 to commemorate the retirement of John Whitwell as director of bands at Michigan State University. It is based on three gospel melodies, “Some of These Days,” “Oh Rocks,” “Don’t Fall on Me,” and “When I Went Down to the Valley.”

The outer sections exhibit great energy, and the five percussion parts, timpani, and piano/celeste have a great many notes to play. Indeed, the percussion writing (often written for a “trap set”) affect the style of a great deal of the work.

This is a long work by a composer with a startling and well-developed technical proficiency. His language is mature, and ensures that his musical message is a clear one. It demonstrates outstanding understanding of style, and offers the audience an attractive and exciting work by a well-established composer.

SBO Magazine