JAN VAN DER ROOST (b.1956): Spartacus - Symphonic Tone Poem, Poème Montagnard, Sinfonietta “Suito Sketches”.
Catalogue Number: 02R048
Description: Like our previous offerings from this composer (02P095, 07P078), these are bold, colorful, unashamedly rather cinematic, tonal works. Spartacus is an homage to Respighi, and the influence of the Italian composer's exuberantly vivid approach to orchestral color is strong, here as in general in van der Roost's music. The piece alternates dramatic, warlike music with tender episodes, and culminates in a dissonant chord depicting the cruel fate of the rebel slaves. The piece is quasi-programmatic; the scenes of gladitorial combat could easily come from a film score, à la John Williams. The splendid “Mountain Poem” depicts the magnificent scenery of the Italian Aosta valley in an impressive opening section, and then a variety of episodes, including Renaissance-derived material in homage to Catherine de Challat, an important fifteenth-century figure from the region, explore the rich history of the area. The contrast between the massive nature-music of the outer sections and the antique picturesqueness of the central part is highly effective and memorably vivid. The four-movement Sinfonietta was a commission for the wind ensemble of the City of Osaka, Japan, and consists of impressions of the city and its history in a neo-romantic idiom that avoids any suggestion of imitative 'Orientalism'. The first movement begins with a free, atmospheric introduction which gives way to a grand, stately statement. 'Sword dance' is a vigorous scherzo - it sounds more like a sword fight, actually, with its pounding drumming. There follows a gentle, nocturnal slow movement which rises to an impressive climax and then subsides into muted colors, and an energetic finale which combines whirling, propulsive motion with an imposing chorale. Philharmonic Winds OKASAN; Jan Van der Roost.