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Etz Chaim - The Piano Music Of Arnold Rosner / Amato


Release Date: 06/09/2009 
Label:  Albany Records   Catalog #: 1119   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Arnold Rosner
Performer:  Donna Amato
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 0 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



ROSNER Adam and Eve. Piano Sonatas 1-3 . And He Sent Forth a Dove. Wedding March. Etz Chaim Donna Amato (pn) ALBANY 1119 (59:31)


This is a broad cross-section of the solo piano music of American composer Arnold Rosner, beginning with music he wrote as a teenager in the early 1960s. Despite his educational vintage (he earned his doctorate at SUNY Buffalo in 1971; Morton Feldman began teaching there two years later), his music is tonal and Read more accessible, but bears a distinct personality. In these works, beginning with Adam and Eve , which was written by the 16-year-old Rosen, and going to Etz Chaim , from 1993, there is a careful sense of craft, without any sense of preciousness, enlivened by extra-musical dramatic inspiration.


Rosner admits that his Adam and Eve is “juvenilia,” but is obviously proud enough of it to include it in a major survey of his piano music. He should be; it is confident and distinctive, and points the way to the composer’s mature style. The three sonatas span a 15 year chunk of Rosner’s creative life, from 1963 to 1978, and seem to represent very different moods. The earliest sonata is imbued with a jazzy vitality, while the second is built around the unusual three-part division of toccata/passacaglia/toccata, that is, a broad and calm center flanked by music of speed and high energy. The last of the sonatas (so far; Rosner is alive and well) is also constructed in an unconventional way, opening and closing with slow movements, with a gentle Pastorale at the center. The work, which is intentionally meditative (Rosner calls it Sonata Eterea) , is effectively solemn and inward looking, no doubt the most personal music on the disc.


Two short works from the early 70s, And He Sent Forth a Dove and Wedding March are both sweetly lilting dance-like compositions with the harmonic influences of Israeli songs. The most recent work is Etz Chaim , written in 1993. The title is Hebrew for tree of life, one of the central metaphors of Jewish thought. Rosner sets up a steep challenge for himself here, attempting to conjure the very mystery of life, as well as a kind of resolution. Traditionally, Jews do not expect to ever solve this mystery; it is too great. But to ponder and reflect upon it is natural and provocative, and that is the direction that Rosner takes in this moving eight-minute musical prayer.


I should note that this is not the first Fanfare review of this CD. Jerry Dubins, with whom I usually agree, found Rosner’s music to be unmemorable to the point of banality. To my frame of mind, Rosner’s music is deceptively uncomplicated but well assembled, and imbued with honest emotional meaning, which he conveys in a wide variety of gestures. Donna Amato, a reliably enthusiastic and technically nimble champion of new music serves the composer well.


FANFARE: Peter Burwasser
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Works on This Recording

1. Adam and Eve, Op. 4 by Arnold Rosner
Performer:  Donna Amato (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Length: 4 Minutes 15 Secs. 
2. Sonata for Piano no 1 in F major, Op. 25 by Arnold Rosner
Performer:  Donna Amato (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Length: 15 Minutes 8 Secs. 
3. Sonata for Piano no 2 in A major, Op. 48 by Arnold Rosner
Performer:  Donna Amato (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Length: 11 Minutes 17 Secs. 
4. And He Sent Forth a Dove, Op. 49 by Arnold Rosner
Performer:  Donna Amato (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 6 Secs. 
5. Wedding March, Op. 53 by Arnold Rosner
Performer:  Donna Amato (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 48 Secs. 
6. Sonata for Piano no 3 in A minor, Op. 69 "Sonata Eterea" by Arnold Rosner
Performer:  Donna Amato (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
7. Sonata for Piano no 3 in A minor, Op. 69 by Arnold Rosner
Performer:  Donna Amato (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 15 Minutes 11 Secs. 
8. Etz Chaim, Op. 99 by Arnold Rosner
Performer:  Donna Amato (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 8 Minutes 6 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Adam and Eve, Op. 4
Piano Sonata No. 1 in F major, Op. 25: I. Allegro molto e marcato
Piano Sonata No. 1 in F major, Op. 25: II. Largo
Piano Sonata No. 1 in F major, Op. 25: III. Allegro con spirito
Piano Sonata No. 2 in A major, Op. 48: I. Toccata I
Piano Sonata No. 2 in A major, Op. 48: II. Passacaglia
Piano Sonata No. 2 in A major, Op. 48: III. Toccata II
And He Sent Forth a Dove in Op. 49
Wedding March, Op. 53
Piano Sonata No. 3 in A minor, Op. 69, "Sonata Eterea": I. Aria
Piano Sonata No. 3 in A minor, Op. 69, "Sonata Eterea": II. Pastorale
Piano Sonata No. 3 in A minor, Op. 69, "Sonata Eterea": III. Benediction
Etz Chaim, Op. 99

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