Music: Back to The Future

The New Tonalists make modern sounds the old-fashioned way

The bespectacled, tweedy Lowell Liebermann seemed staggered by the sight and sound of his first standing ovation, Texas-style. Andrew Litton and the Dallas Symphony had just premiered his Second Symphony, and the first-nighters earlier this month jumped to their feet and shouted with understandable delight. Now brazen and glittering, now radiantly visionary, the Liebermann Second, a resplendent choral symphony based on the poetry of Walt Whitman, is the work of a composer unafraid of grand gestures and openhearted lyricism. Says conductor Litton, who picked Liebermann, 39, as the orchestra's composer-in-residence: "Lowell is proving that new classical music doesn't have to be...

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