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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Jan Van Der Roost, Sirius and Other Works for Orchestra

The world of contemporary composition is, as much as ever before, a multi-stranded stylistic affair. Side-by-side these days there are the high-modernist post-serial composers of various stripes, then there is post-romanticism, minimalism, new avant tonality, pan-harmonic, pomo collage, neo-classic, and any number of other possibilities, all as we have seen in these pages, coming to bear on what for more than 100 years we have considered a part of our age.

Composer Jan Van Der Roost has another take on all of this, well-represented on his CD Sirius and Other Works for Orchestra (Navona 5919). There are three works presented for our consideration: "Sirius," a "Sinfonia for Orchestra," and "Manhattan Pictures." It's music of a dramatic cast, very dynamic and descriptive, tonal with some more expansiveness than one might find in a "typical" neo-romantic, music with much in the way of kinetic energy and a somewhat mysterious cast.

The mystery is more to the forefront on "Sirius" and the Sinfonia; the kinetic energy is there to greater or lesser degrees in all the works but especially "Manhattan Pictures."

These are works that undoubtedly take a good bit of rehearsal to resound with the multilayered, orchestrally diverse sound-color palette and rhythmically-dynamically expressive tempestuousness that the composer often favors. The St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra under Vladimir Lande takes on the first two works; Fernand Terby conducts the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Belgian Radio for the third work. I'll admit there seem to be moments here and there where they could have benefitted from a tad more rehearsal time, but the spirit of the composer comes through strongly in any event and these stand up as quite worthy first recordings.

One exits the CD with a very clear feeling for Van Der Roost and his orchestral style. There is sometimes a feeling that we are listening to the music that follows in the heritage of "The Rites of Spring" but in such a furtherance that the offspring has established an identity fully personal. Moreover it is music that in a way synthesizes and re-presents the heritage of orchestral developments we have seen over the past 100 years. That is the case. The music fascinates. It will give your ears and your aural imagination a real workout--not to mention your music system!

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