GREGORY ROSE (b.1948): Violin Concerto, Red Planet, Birthday Ode for Aaron Copland, Suite pour Cordes, 7 Dances from Danse macabre.

Catalogue Number: 03V063

Label: Toccata Classics

Reference: TOCC 0558

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: In his distinguished career as conductor, Rose has come into contact with most of the trends in contemporary music, but he has forged his own style, which is broadly tonal, accessible and communicative - the idiom of a composer in constant communion with a listening public, not an ivory tower academic. Even when his harmonic language is at its most astringent - which is far from all the time - his predilection for dancing rhythms and narrative clarity ensures comprehensibility. The Violin Concerto is in nine episodes which function as scenes, centered on one derived from the composer's Totentanz Berlin, which suggests the general theme and mood of the piece, which is tense and nervous, but with a sense of Mephistophelean playfulness (and a suitably diabolical solo part - The Soldier’s Tale is part of the work's genealogy). Red Planet is a suite of five pieces atmospherically describing features of the Martian landscape. A sense of mystery and awe pervades the neo-romantic tone pictures, which nevertheless encompass powerful, percussive dancing evocations of turbulent alien geological forces, prominently featuring propulsive rhythms from conga drums. Seven Dances are instrumental sections taken from the composer’s dramatic work Danse macabre (after Bernt Notke's 15th century paintings depicting Death dancing away with prominent members of society - 10R071). Here Death plays the bagpipes in an appealing, if sinister, series of lively dances. This is a new recording of Rose's version re-orchestrated for chamber orchestra. Suite pour Cordes is attractive, if slightly abrasive, in five rather Stravinskyan movements of great clarity and directness. Peter Sheppard Skærved (violin), Royal Ballet Sinfonia; Gregory Rose.

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