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Rouse: Symphony No. 2; Flute Concerto; Phaethon
Christopher Rouse, Christoph Eschenbach, Houston Symphony Orchestra
Rouse: Symphony No. 2; Flute Concerto; Phaethon
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #1


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Exceptional in All Regards. A Must Have CD!
George John | Houston, TX United States | 04/10/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Listening to this disk today made me wonder how many other truly remarkable works of contemporary classical music I may have overlooked. The short version of this review is BUY THIS CD. It is remarkable in all regards.Now for the long version. First, overall impressions:Recording quality: A+, as good as it gets on standard CDPerforming quality: A, the orchestra seems to be very well rehearsed. The musicians for the most part seem to be totally confident in handling this at times technically challenging music.Conducting: A+, Eschenbach seems to be totally committed to this music, the ensemble playing is tight, balanced, with glorious tone.Composition Quality: A+, IMHO, the 2nd Symphony and the Flute Concerto are destined to eventually become staples for symphonic orchestras. Their time will come, hopefully much more quickly than it took audiences to appreciate works of some like Mahler and Bruckner.Rhythmic Interest: A+Orchestration: A+Emotional Content: A+ I consider these performances inspired. At the end of the Flute Concerto I pictured myself hearing this live, jumping up, and repeatedly shouting BRAVO at the top of my lungs. I don't recall reacting this way in a home listening experience before.I intentionally did not read the program notes prior to listening to this music. The first of movement of the 2nd Symphony is completely engaging with wonderful rhythmic drive. It is interrupted by the 2nd movement where it immediately becomes clear the composer has been inspired by something that has given him great pain and a sense of deep loss. I learned later it was the death of a fellow composer and friend.I tend to become most attached to works where composers have attempted to deal with their deepest, most profound, and sometimes most painful emotions. It's perhaps why I have been so attracted to Mahler, among others. The 2nd Symphony makes my "A" team in this regard.I may have to create a new category for the Flute Concerto though. Can a work be TOO BEAUTIFUL to listen to? I have never thought of such a concept before. I recently listened to the Mahler 10th which has one of the most beautiful, moving flute passages I can think of. This work completely trumps Mahler in that regard and has what is without a doubt the most beautiful, emotionally moving set of flute melodies I have ever heard.But not all is beauty. These two works seem to deal with profound tragedy, pain, and loss, too. The Flute Concerto is a truly remarkable work, and is easily my favorite all-time "concerto".The Phaethon, while no doubt a fine work, was anti-climatic after having heard the 2nd Symphony and Flute Concerto. In fairness to it, anything would have been anti-climatic after what I experienced listening to the Flute Concerto. Do you ever get the sense that time has stopped while listening to a work of music? I have only had that happen once or twice before. It happened while listening to final two or so minutes of the Flute Concerto.In summary, this is a truly remarkable release. I hope everyone will take the time to listened to it in a totally quiet (it has very wide dynamic range) environment, on a good sound system (audiophiles will rejoice. This will make a great test CD to take to the store when auditioning new equipment), and with no distractions.Enjoy. Keep a box of tissue handy just in case."
Hear what will be the century's most popular flute concerto
George John | 09/18/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I've heard all these works live in three venues, and believe me, they are audience-pleasers! Standing ovations for contemporary music?? You bet! And these aren't Boston Pops-type bon bons, but serious, even profound works.While the Symphony No. 2 and Phaethon have elements of Rouse in his dashing-crashing "Gorgon" mode--superb orchestration with rock-em-sock-em percussion--the Flute Concerto is a journey to the days of pure melody. I just melted in the "Elegy" movement when the strings come in with a melody worthy of the great English masters Elgar and Vaughan Williams.Keep your chocolates in the refrigerator when you listen to this one!"
Rouse Flute Concerto: Pure Excellence
George John | 02/17/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I had the chance to hear the Rouse Flute Concerto performed live last fall by the Philharmonic at Indiana University. The pure beauty of this work was astounding. It is quite rare to see a standing ovation for music of this type, but this piece was quite deserving of the applause it recieved. I'd reccomend it to anyone."