Arnold Rosner Orchestral Music Uniquely Powerful

Arnold Rosner is one of my favorite composers. I am thrilled that Toccata Classics has issued a fourth volume of his orchestral music. Here’s to many more!

Rosner was a unique talent. His style combined Romantic Era lyricism with Medieval and Renaissance harmonies. His music seems to come from an alternate reality. One where the Baroque never happened.

The works in this release share a similar character. They have a powerful sound that seems timeless. Of special interest is Variations on a Theme by Frank Martin. Rosner admired Martin, another composer who created his own style. Martin’s music is very much suited to Rosner’s. The work sounds like a collaboration between the two. 

Rosner didn’t totally ignore the Baroque period. He borrowed some forms from the era, albeit to rework them. The Concerto Grosso No. 2 is one such work. Here Rosner alternates ripieno tuttis with various melodic fragments. The fragments develop and coalesce in unexpected ways.  

A My Lai Elegy is Rosner at his best. His anger toward this massacre is palpable. And that anger fuels this composition. The work has some tutti outbursts that almost overwhelm the listener. Rosner’s harmonies have a raw power to them. Here they unleash a fury of sound.      

The London Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Nick Palmer delivers committed performances. Rosner’s music benefits from its powerful ensemble sound. And their ability to drop from fff to ppp in a heartbeat.   

All the works on this release are world premiere recordings. Arnold Rosner was a true individual. But one whose works can be readily enjoyed on first hearing. His music connects. It just needs an audience to connect to. Recordings like this help. 

Arnold Rosner: Orchestral Music, Volume Four
London Philharmonic Orchestra; Nick Palmer, conductor
Toccata Classics, TOPCC 0710

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