POUL RUDERS (b.1949): Sound and Simplicity - Seven Pillars of Music for Accordion and Orchestra, Dream Catcher for Accordion, Symphony No. 3 “Dream Catcher”.

Catalogue Number: 04W056

Label: Bridge

Reference: 9553

Format: CD

Price: $16.98

Description: The powerful symphony is divided into two diametrically opposed movements - slow/fast; static/active; light/dark. Very characteristically for the composer (see also the Nightshade works - 03Q069 - or 12L094 - or the deeply tragic Selma Jezková (07N095), the symphony inhabits a tenebrous realm in which the Romantic darkness to light trajectory is turned on its head. The title refers to the Native American shamanic device, though here both benign and nightmarish dreams seem to be examined in a tense subconscious drama. After a strident introduction, the first movement is a luminous adagio, hypnotically dreamlike. Eventually it takes on an increasingly threatening, ominous aspect as the level of dissonance ratchets up. The second movement is a huge Totentanz for extravagantly employed full orchestral forces, with hints of the Dies irae and a constant sense of pursuing nightmare. Sound and Simplicity is a misleadingly innocuous title for a large suite of impressive concertante orchestral essays - Seven Pillars of Music at least points to the Gothic architecture of the work as a whole. In a typically "Mind your own business" program note, Ruders reveals the origins of the title and subtitle before assuring us that they are of no significance; and he basically tells the listener to make up their own program for all but two of the individual movements, which have literary origins, both powerfully evoked. "Rain" refers to a marvellous passage by Danish writer Arthur Krasilnikoff, describing the myriad timbres of the rain "playing a single, incredible instrument" comprising the surfaces on which it falls, quasi-onomatopœically represented by plashings, drips and drops and gurgling in channels and gutters by soloist and orchestra. "Smoke", a dark, disturbing keystone of the work’s architecture, draws on a nightmare vision from Doris Lessing's dystopian future-fiction novel "Mara and Dann". "Twilight" is no soft, gentle eventide; it sounds more like that of the desperate, defeated gods in its looming, ominous cloud-masses and encroaching gloom. Or maybe it sets the scene for the demonic hunt of the following movement, under the sinister "Wolf Moon". The imaginative invention, both musical and psychological, of this diverse suite places it among Ruders' finest inspirations to date. Both works are in Ruders' customary idiom; tonal but amply spiced with biting dissonance ad libitum. Bjarke Mogensen (accordion), Odense Symphony Orchestra; Sebastian Land-Lessing, Scott Yoo (symphony). Symphony previously released January 2013 - 01O071.

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