Few contemporary artists have been as significant as Pulitzer Prize and GRAMMY Award winner Christopher Rouse, whose imaginative approach made him one of the most frequently performed composers during his lifetime. The Concerto for Orchestra is a ‘hyper-concerto’ that gives each player a chance to shine, while the mournful intimacy and passion of Supplica unfolds somewhat like the slow movement of a Bruckner or Mahler symphony. Rouse’s Fifth Symphony fondly recalls Beethoven’s mighty Fifth but blurs the lines between tradition and modernity, transporting the listener from turbulence to serenity. It was described as “brilliant, exciting and at times hauntingly beautiful” in The Dallas Morning News. Champions of new American music, theRead more Nashville Symphony and its music director Giancarlo Guerrero had premiered numerous works and received 13 GRAMMY Awards including two for Best Orchestral Performance. Among their award-winning recordings include works by Michael Daugherty (Metropolis Symphony on 8.559635; Tales of Hemingway on 8.559798), Stephen Paulus (Three Places of Enlightenment on 8.559740), and Jennifer Higdon (All Things Majestic and Viola Concerto on 8.559823).
Completed in 2015, Rouse's Fifth Symphony is in one continuous movement, but then subdivided mostly by tempo and dynamics. He needs us to listen afresh to the sounds that a standard symphony orchestra can produce, and then for our minds to respond to a new language, as in here, for instance, the timpani barrage in the finale. The Concerto for Orchestra, at around twenty-nine minutes, is almost as long as his symphony, and dates from 2008, but it is in a very different world to Bartok’s Concerto. The coloring in his Concerto for Orchestra are rather more primary in their import, with dynamics taken to extremes. As a complete contrast, Supplica’s motivating factor is one of prayer, its parentage taking us back to Mahler in his most subdued mode. To sum up, this excellently recorded disc offers Rouse in many moods, and American music will be greatly impoverished by his passing.
– David's Review Corner (David Denton)
As so often with Rouse, the music is compelling and universal. Throughout, the Nashville Symphony and Giancarlo Guerrero do this Rouse triptych proud.