JAN VAN DER ROOST (b.1956): Symphony, Sirius, Manhattan Pictures (Philharmonic Orchestra of the Belgian Radio; Fernand Terby).
Catalogue Number: 07P078
Label: Navona Records
Description: Attractive, accessible works, very tonal and in a rich, neo-romantic idiom. Sirius is a bold, dramatic overture writ large; commissioned for a 'coaching orchestra' with young players, the piece is highly approachable and contains deliberate stylistic allusions to film music, the better to appeal to youthful performers. The central allegro section pays obvious tribute to the Shostakovich of the scherzo of the 10th Symphony. The symphony is laid out on traditional lines, with a sonata-allegro opening movement, slow movement, an energetic scherzo and propulsive finale with a mysterious introduction. A few formless aleatoric passages create atmosphere, but the bulk of the work is strongly tonal and rhythmically decisive, with powerful ostinato-driven motion. The slow movement is a funeral march in memory of a child, and touchingly incorporates the nursery tune Ah vous dirai-je, Maman/Twinkle, twinkle little star, alongside a somber processional and a solemn chorale. The exuberant Manhattan Pictures portray aspects of the city with a very Bernsteinian touch (the first movement in particular is very close to a section of Mass), and a hint of Gershwin, with colorful orchestration and irresistible rhythmic drive. Notes, photographs and a short video from the recording session are included as computer-readable files on the disc. St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra; Vladimir Lande.