Rosner is one of my enthusiasms as a search of his name on this
site will reveal. That we stand in urgent need of complete recordings
of his symphonies and quartets - six of each - does nothing to
demean the satisfactions of the present disc which arrived out
of the blue only recently.
His music is modal and at times can sound a little like a Vaughan
Williams and Bloch consortium. Its strongly distinctive - radiating
a stern romantic dignity. You can hear it instantly in the modal
writing of the sixteen year old composer's Adam and Eve
It's a piece which also has a Bloch-like sinuous sway as well
as that reserved eloquence which then darts off into Lisztian
mephisto regions. The First Sonata comes from only two years
later. Like its two successors it is in three movements and is
brief - none of them exceeds 16 minutes. These track through
Bartókian insistence which is delightfully disrupted by
explosive jagged little treble figures. A remorseful Largo is
redolent of the excerpts I have heard from his grand Tudor opera.
Gigantic flourishes of sound add majesty while the Allegro
is hard yet hailstone jazzy.
Seven years on and we encounter the less consonant Second Sonata
which the composer relates to the crashing and sometimes motoric
Bartók and Prokofiev sonatas. That feels right as an image
of the martellato
sound-world but modality and dignity
is admixed again. And He sent forth a dove
are brevities being respectively jaunty-hurried and
steady-processional. The Sonata Eterea
is dedicated to
Elliott and Ruth Litsky who the composer tells us liked the aggression
of his writing well enough but preferred the mellower aspect.
The latter can be heard in the lovely benign curve of the music
which moves in realms between Urmis Sisask, Rubbra and RVW. Possibly
to reflect his regard for the dedicatees this sonata breaks the
pattern of its two predecessors and has two slow movements encasing
a fast-ish Pastorale centre. The final Benediction
a centre of peace - affecting and serene. Lastly we have Etz
: a single span of music - serious, starry, mildly dissonant
and carried rhapsodically along yet at the same time ineluctable
in its flow.
This music is occasionally reminiscent of the style of Howells
Clavichord cycles yet the emotional ambit of the pieces is broad
the heart sturdy and leonine.
You could also further acquaint yourself with the Rosner music
for piano by opting also for Albany TROY 163.
The notes are by the composer.
Donna Amato is a sincere and determinedly individual pianist.
The concert world has need of her sort. She is a pupil of Kentner,
Casadesus and Agosti. Her advocacy of Sorabji on Altarus is by
no means an exclusive thing as we can see and hear in this most
expressively performed and strongly recorded disc. I hope you
will forgive me for an aside in hoping that Amato will soon record
the six Sorabji piano concertos.
Rosner is in command of a distinctive equipoise between melodic
dignity and consonant eloquence.