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Monday, October 26, 2015

Arthur Gottschalk, Requiem for the Living, Vladimir Lande, St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Choir

Is there a single stylistic way for contemporary modern classical music in the present? The answer, as we see continually, is no. Arthur Gottschalk and his full-scale offering Requiem for the Living (Navona 6009) fits in with the anything goes world we are in today.

In is based on the Latin Mass for the Dead in content, but then branches out with textual commentary by Ellington, George Elliot, Mohammad, Judaic sacred text and other sources. The idea is that this is for those who are still here, in terms with dealing with their life in the face of death. How should we live?

The always partial, myriad-formed answer comes to us in this full choral-orchestral work as performed with spirit by the St. Petersburgh State Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Choir, with soloists, all under the direction of Vladimir Lande.

Romantic, contrapuntal, post-romantic and otherwise modern elements join together with some elements of jazz a la George Gershwin and his era and more besides. You might even detect a moment that reminds you of Carl Orff, too. The essentially eclectic approach manages to convey to us an Arthur Gottschalk of committed passion, a sense of urgency, a communicator who creates a broad swath of convincing choral-orchestral largess and dramatic flourish.

It is a work that rings with a contemporary presence yet has a timeless quality from an American composer who deserves our attention. I came to appreciate the work over time. I believe it will have much appeal for those who take the time to get into its many-faceted totalities.

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