The musical language of the New York-based Arnold Rosner (1945–2013) clothes the modal harmony and rhythm of pre-Baroque polyphony in rich Romantic colours, producing a style that is instantly recognisable and immediately appealing. The piano concerto which opens this album reveals that his personality was present from the start: although it was written before he had any formal training in composition, its confidence and individuality are striking. The other works here show the range of Rosner’s music, from his fondness for Elizabethan dance and his exploration of symphonic minimalism to an identification with his Jewish roots, in a harrowing setting for speaker and orchestra of extracts from the diary of the leader of the Warsaw Ghetto.
Peter Vinograde, piano Peter Riegert, speaker London Philharmonic Orchestra David Amos, conductor
Gematria, Op. 93 (1991): https://d3i77y9w5vf4up.cloudfront.net/TOCC0368/04.mp3
Six Pastoral Dances, Op. 40 (1968) https://d3i77y9w5vf4up.cloudfront.net/TOCC0368/05.mp3
From the Diaries of Adam Czerniaków, Op. 82, for narrator and orchestra (1986) https://d3i77y9w5vf4up.cloudfront.net/TOCC0368/11.mp3
Catalogue No: TOCC0368EAN/UPC: 5060113443687Release Date: 01.06.2016Composer: Arnold Rosner Artists: David Amos, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Riegert, Peter Vinograde
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Charles Harpum :
This is really special. I have been a fan of Arnold Rosner’s music for some years and therefore bought this CD as soon as it came out. The big “hit” here is the Second Piano Concerto, which I cannot keep off my CD player. It is full of marvellous, unforgettable music. It ought to be top of the classical charts. The other works are also very fine. I am not normally very fond of works with narrator, but From the Diaries of Adam Czerniakow is very powerful, if grim, telling the harrowing story of the Warsaw Ghetto (which I visited some years ago, so it had particular meaning). The music is strong and, as always with Rosner, memorable. I shall play this CD frequently. Please can we have some more Rosner?
Myron Silberstein :
‘FANFARE WANT LIST: Each of the composers on my Want List this year is identifiable by a wholly personal musical vision that makes him stand out from the prevailing aesthetic of his place and time. This is a source of fascination for listeners who admire these composers. … So it is a particular thrill to have come across five recordings this year of top-quality repertoire urgently in need of wider attention, performed with first rate sensitivity and finesse. … Arnold Rosner’s harmonic palette was an extension of pre-Baroque contrapuntal techniques. But his expressive drive and instrumental palette was thoroughly contemporary. This most recent recording of his music is possibly the best introduction to Rosner available. The four pieces on it span 25 years of his career and run the gamut from the rather light-hearted Elizabethan-flavored Pastoral Dances to Rosner’s deeply moving and appropriately severe setting of excerpts from Adam Czerniaków’s diaries. Rosner’s Piano Concerto No. 2 is among his most immediately appealing works, while Gematria shows him in a meditative, mystical mode.’ —Fanfare, November/December 2016
Merlin Patterson :
‘FANFARE WANT LIST: The Toccata Classics release of orchestral music by Arnold Rosner, beautifully performed by conductor David Amos and the London Philharmonic, only reaffirms that the neglect this brilliantly inventive and thoroughly original composer suffered during his lifetime was a true musical tragedy.’ —Fanfare, November/December 2016
Huntley Dent :
‘The most remarkable work to my mind is probably the Piano Concerto No. 2 (1965)… For an untutored composer to achieve a work so full of raw power, melody, and atmosphere is rare in music history, but the story becomes more astonishing because at the tender age of 20, Rosner had already found his voice… Toccata continues its valuable service unearthing composers and scores that would otherwise be neglected, and in this case Rosner gets the royal treatment with the London Philharmonic’s world-class playing. In the Piano Concerto soloist Peter Vinograde isn’t faced with virtuosic demands; until the Presto finale, the writing isn’t especially pianistic. But Vinograde is attuned to the heartfelt emotions of a self-taught composer of unusual gifts. … Amos’s conducting mirrors his loving advocacy of these pieces. All told, this is a winning release, down to the informative program notes and the inclusion of the excerpts from Czerniaków’s diary. Neo-Romanticism surges forward.’ —Fanfare, November/December 2016
Henry Fogel :
‘The more of Rosner’s music one hears, the more one learns that he has his own unique sound. Some of that is because of his interest in modal harmonies and the polyphony found in early music. But he also reveals a slight jazz influence (particularly noticeable in the outer movements of his Piano Concerto here). Most importantly, there is an emotional truth in his compositions. It never sounds like empty effects, nor is it solely written to entertain. While he never minimizes the value of entertainment, neither does Rosner shrink from its power to move, to stir deeper emotions. … The performances and recording quality are first-rate. As indicated above, the accompanying notes are extremely insightful and informative. Strongly recommended.’ —Fanfare, November/December 2016
Barry Brenesal :
‘Rosner confirmed my belief in just how much mileage one can discover in modern works that resort to modalism, independent polyphony, and transformative, non-developmental musical structures. … It [Gematria] is one of the most brilliant and clever compositions I’ve encountered in a long time, not hurt in the slightest by the composer’s gift for colorful orchestration displayed here at its fullest. … Peter Vinograde is an enthusiastic advocate for the Piano Concerto, and Amos leads with distinction. He clarifies textures without slowing the music and losing its pulse, but instead phrases with care. In short, this is a fine release. It shows many sides of a composer whose work really should be far, far better known, performed by musicians who bring out all its qualities. Top marks all around. This one goes on my Want List. Now, will you please buy this so Toccata Classics can turn what is apparently a singleton into a series?’ —Fanfare, November/December 2016
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