Arnold Rosner Requiem — Timeless

Toccata Classics has done a real service to music with this recording. It’s one of Arnold Rosner’s most substantial works. And, unfortunately, one most likely to only be heard through recording rather than live performances.

The Requiem is a massive work. It contemplates death through a variety of traditions: Zen Buddhism, the Jewish Kaddish, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and Walt Whitman.

Rosner created his own musical world, and it was wonderous — especially here. He rejected serialism, creating his own form of tonality. Rosner incorporated Renaissance and Medieval harmonic and contrapuntal practices into his music.

The Requiem sounds both timely and timeless. The pre-Baroque qualities of Rosner’s style mesh beautifully with the ancient texts he uses (and even the more contemporary ones). This is music that spans cultural traditions, drawing from many, but beholding to none.

The performances are first-rate. Nick Palmer leads the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Crouch End Festival Chorus adroitly, The assembled forced can sound like the end of the world or a breath of contemplative beauty.

This is a masterwork by a still under-appreciated composer. And it’s performed masterfully. Beautiful, and at times, breath-taking.

Arnold Rosner: Requiem, Op. 58
Kelley Hollis, soprano; Feargal Mostyn-Williams, countertenor; Gareth Brynmor John, Baritone; Crouch End Festival Chorus; London Philharmonic Orchestra; Nick Palmer, conductor
Toccata Classics TOCC 0545
World Premiere Recording

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