Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Arnold Rosner, Orchestral Music, Volume Two, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Nick Palmer
With that in mind I always try to audition New Music by composers I have missed one way or another, so that perhaps the process of sifting through leads us to happy discoveries and surprises. On that very note I said "sure" to the opportunity to hear Arnold Rosner (1945-2013), specifically his Orchestral Music, Volume Two (Toccata Classics 0465).
And as I emerge from the intensive listening of said album I must say I am beguiled, impressed with Rosner's true vision and orchestrational grasp.
Three compositions provide three appealing and dynamic musical worlds.
"Five Ko-ans for Orchestra, Op. 65" (1976) ia an ambitious 30-or-so minutes, five movements of lush adventure, modern in its harmonic edginess, bold with an eroicist-and-beyond, almost Beethovian grandeur.
"Unraveling Dances, Op. 122" (2007) takes a strong undercurrent of Ravel's "Bolero" and heads into rhythmically consistent dance forms that veer definitively into an original matrix.
"The Parable of the Law, Op. 97" (1993) gives us a mysterioso setting of the Kafka text and Chrisopher Burchette's well burnished baritone for a mood that reminds slightly of Vaughan Williams and his ever-evocative evocations. This not in some obvious way. Rather it sounds well and Rosneresque in its own way. It is an orchestral maze of tone and text, of a searching for meaning and understanding, a question not unanswered so much as as endlessly answered with the more of it ever.
Listing to this volume a good number of times, I emerge with a clear sense of the Rosner musical personality, not so much a cross-section of a number of modern developments and the past, instead a conscious refashioning from what has been and a fertile inventive imagination. Nick Palmer and the London Philharmonic give us impressive and heartfelt readings of the works. Very recommended.