Toccata Classics continues their exploration of Arnold Rosner’s orchestral music. Volume Three presents three world premiere recordings. Each one a masterwork, and each (in my opinion) deserving more performances.
Rosner was fascinated with Medieval and Renaissance music and often used pre-Baroque voice-leading and modal harmonies in his work. The 1978 Nocture is one such example. Inspired by the cosmos, Rosner creates a dark, unsettling soundscape. Big, expansive chords punctuate the work, suggesting the vastness space.
Tempus Perfectum refers to the work’s 9/8 meter. In the Middle Ages, three was the perfect number (representing the Trinity). So having three beats per measure, each subdivided into thirds was the perfect tempo.
Rosner’s Tempus Perfectum uses that meter as the basis for a Neo-Renaissance canzona. It does Resphigi’s “Ancient Aires” one better, as Rosner’s material is completely original and conceived for the instruments that play it.
In the liner notes, Walter Simmons writes that the 1976 Symphony No. 6 contains “the most ferocious and explosive music Rosner ever composed.” I agree.
This turbulent three-movement work is generated from a small set of motifs. Rosner continually revisits and transforms them throughout the work with increasing urgency. They give the entire 38-minute symphony a tight-knit cohesion that works — and works well.
Rosner’s Sixth Symphony has a terrifying strength to it. But it’s one that’s greatly dependent on the performance. Years ago I heard a private recording of Symphony No. 6 with a college ensemble. The symphony didn’t seem particularly remarkable to me.
This performance, though, is first-rate. And I was completely engaged from start to finish. Nick Palmer and the London Philharmonic Orchestra has the power — and the musicianship — to deliver the drama and majesty of this work.
Will there be a volume four? I hope so.
Arnold Rosner: Orchestral Music, Volume Three
Nocturne, Op. 68; Tempus Perfectum: A Concert Overture, Op. 109; Symphony No. 6, Op. 64
London Philharmonic Orchestra; Nick Palmer, conductor
Toccata Classics TOCC 0469