Jeff Dunn | Alameda, California United States | 05/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Six stars! No, seven! It is simply impossible for me to recommend a release more highly. Why? All I can do is count the ways:1. I have personally heard all of these pieces in concert, multiple times. Every single performance I've heard has received a standing ovation, many of them wildly enthusiastic. In Los Angeles, they practically knocked the roof off the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion. All three works are first recordings.2. Yet this is not watered-down, pandering stuff. The Violin Concerto in particular is a serious, superbly constructed, highly dramatic masterpiece that I predict will rank with the Prokofiev, Barber and Berg concertos long after John Adams' concerto disappears from the repertory. 3. Everyone interested in the musical current of neotonalism and probably its greatest living exponent must have this CD in their collection. Rouse shows that one can write effective concert music without sounding like a movie composer or condescending to popular tastes.4. Students of orchestration, especially percussion, will have a field day with the "Alberich" concerto. Rouse's was one of the first of a wave of such concertos starting in the mid-90s. It remains the best.5. That is, if you have a sense of humor! The Postmodernist element rears up hilariously in a send-up of Wagnerian pomposity as Alberich, personified by the world-famous percussionist Evelyn Glennie, gets revenge on Wagner's "Ring" gods by turning the sunrise music from "Gotterdammerung" into a rock concert.6. "Rapture" is a phenomenal piece that hit the concert stage in a whirlwind of performances and rave reviews. I believe at least 18 different orchestras played it over the course of a year. Why it's taken this long to come out in recording is a mystery. But I am grateful, I hear can hear it now all I want instead of having to fly across the country to hear it live. Think of how much less you're spending than I did when you buy this CD!Performance by Leif Segerstam conducting the Helsinki Philharmonic is fine, if a little slow in the Violin Concerto. Sonics are particulary excellent. Get ready to jump out of your chair from time to time.So don't hesitate, join in the Rapture!"
A Paean to Rick Wakeman
o dubhthaigh | north rustico, pei, canada | 05/11/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"And such a thing should not exist! The opening 2 movements of "Alberich", referencing the nasty character in Wagner's RING, are positively superb, with an element of unresolved tension building throughout. It all comes undone in Glennie's solo. And that's what it is: a drum solo in the midst of a classical concerto. I'd have thought that that conceit had died along with the abysmal excesses of charaters like Rick Wakeman. This is right out of his "Journey to the Center of the Earth" and while I don't doubt for a minute that people in LA would stand and applaud (their two cultural contributions to Civilization being the right turn on red and Arnold as Governor), it struck me as completely ridiculous. In fact, I'm surprised Glennie would go for this. Someone must have slipped her a mickey in the haggis. She is a great rock drummer as far as that goes, though she might find more of a challenge working with Bill Bruford instead of this piece.
"Rapture" is indeed beautiful. It nearly resolves the CD. The Violin Concerto is Prokofiev influenced and executed well, but I tired of listening to it. Leif Segerstam and his crew are a daring orchestra that have produced great and powerful music. I'd recommend their take on Rautavarra's Symphony No. 8 in a heartbeat. The problem is the material here."
Move over, Bolero!
medusssa | Phila, PA | 06/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love this whole CD. Rouse's violin concerto is soulful and satisfying, and that's rare. Lin plays it beautifully and I will look for other violinists to add it to their rep in the future. Glennie is always fun, and Rouse has given her a whimsical rollick to work out on in Alberich. Even the wonky rock drum solo. But RAPTURE! Oh dear! It is so incredibly sensual and sexy. The orchestration is stunning, the colors alternately vivid and melting. Yeah, definitely get some champagne and some chocolates and take this one to bed. Oooh!"