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Rouse: Iscariot, Clarinet Concerto, Symphony No 1 / Fröst, Gilbert, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic


Release Date: 10/28/2008 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 1386   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Christopher Rouse
Performer:  Martin Fröst
Conductor:  Alan Gilbert
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews


Christopher Rouse is an exciting composer. All of his music, even a dark, slow work such as the First Symphony, features a striking level of tension. He's also been lucky in that his music has received a good deal of attention on disc. Both the First Symphony and Iscariot have been recorded previously, the former by Zinman on Nonesuch (later Louisville First Edition), the latter by Marin Alsop on RCA. However, both of those discs seem to have vanished, at least for now, and so it's particularly nice to see excellent new recordings available from a label that stands by its product over the long term.

The First Symphony, nominally cast as an adagio lasting nearly half an hour and
Read more featuring quotations from Bruckner's Seventh Symphony, is wholly gripping and vividly contrasted despite the slow pacing and prevailing gloomy atmosphere. Alan Gilbert conducts it at least as well as did David Zinman (who was fabulous), and the BIS engineers capture the work's volcanic climaxes with aplomb. Iscariot also is predominantly slow, but once again the intensity is unrelenting. I'm not normally a fan of works with enigmatic titles that the composer refuses to explain (just do it and get it over with!), but when the argument is as cogent and ear-catching as this, why complain? Gilbert's reading is marginally broader than Alsop's, but not a whit less absorbing.

The Clarinet Concerto is the least appealing work here. Based on the composer's recollections of wacky television game shows of the 1960s and '70s, it's hyperactive without quite managing to be funny. Rouse is nothing if not a "serious" composer, perhaps a bit too much so, but there's no denying the work's virtuoso impulse, or the fact that Martin Fröst plays the living daylights out of it. In short, this is major music by a major compositional voice; if you missed the symphony or Iscariot the first time around, now's your chance to get caught up.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Iscariot by Christopher Rouse
Conductor:  Alan Gilbert
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1989; USA 
2.
Symphony no 1 by Christopher Rouse
Conductor:  Alan Gilbert
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1986; USA 
3.
Concerto for Clarinet by Christopher Rouse
Performer:  Martin Fröst (Clarinet)
Conductor:  Alan Gilbert
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2001 

Sound Samples

Iscariot
Clarinet Concerto
Symphony No. 1

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