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Rouse: Der Gerettete Alberich, Rapture, Etc / Glennie, Et Al

Release Date: 03/23/2004 
Label:  Ondine   Catalog #: 1016   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Christopher Rouse
Performer:  Evelyn GlennieLin Cho-Liang
Conductor:  Leif Segerstam
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 4 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Having recently enjoyed Finnish composer Kalevi Aho's Eleventh Symphony for percussion ensemble and orchestra (BIS), I have come to the conclusion that percussion concertos are to music what professional wrestling is to sports. They can be immensely entertaining (as indeed this one certainly is), but let's not kid ourselves: there's only a limited amount of music you can cram into one for the simple reason that all unpitched drumming basically sounds the same once it gets going, and this really limits a composer's options.

For this reason, Christopher Rouse (a percussionist himself) had the brilliant idea of making this a "program" concerto that answers the musical question:
Read more "What happens to the malevolent dwarf Alberich after the end of Wagner's Götterdämmerung?" After all, he and the Rhine Maidens are the only characters left standing (or swimming), and so Rouse's concerto "Alberich Unleashed" begins with Wagner's ending--the "Redemption Through Love" motive--and takes off from there. The thematic material comes from "The Ring", and so neatly solves the problem of making interesting music while the always marvelous Evelyn Glennie is slugging away at whatever apparatus happens to be on display at any given time. The "heavy metal" opening of the third movement is particularly fun. And so, like the best professional wrestling matches, Rouse gives us a genuinely exciting (and unlike professional wrestling, intelligent) experience that never pushes the medium farther than it naturally wants to go.

The Violin Concerto, on the other hand, is a masterpiece in a medium that has been doing very well lately on the contemporary music scene. Cast in two movements, like the first concerto of Bartók, the opening Barcarola features memorably long-lined and rhapsodic thematic material (with some very dramatic percussion scoring as well), while the concluding Toccata explores the outer regions of virtuosity without for a moment sounding mechanical. Cho-Liang Lin clearly believes in the piece, as well he should, and delivers a polished and expressive performance--and you couldn't ask for better accompaniments than those offered by Leif Segerstam and the Helsinki Philharmonic. Rapture offers conductor and orchestra 12-plus minutes of their own in the spotlight, and they make the most of it in music that delivers exactly what the title promises. Gorgeous sonics top off yet another superb disc of contemporary music that we can only pray will find something like the popularity and general acceptance that it surely deserves.

--David Hurwitz
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Works on This Recording

Der gerettete Alberich by Christopher Rouse
Performer:  Evelyn Glennie (Percussion)
Conductor:  Leif Segerstam
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1997; USA 
Rapture by Christopher Rouse
Conductor:  Leif Segerstam
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1999-2000; USA 
Concerto for Violin by Christopher Rouse
Performer:  Lin Cho-Liang (Violin)
Conductor:  Leif Segerstam
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1991; USA 

Sound Samples

Der gerettete Alberich: I. -
Der gerettete Alberich: II. -
Der gerettete Alberich: III. -
Violin Concerto: I. Barcarola
Violin Concerto: II. Toccata

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