ARNOLD ROSNER (1945-2013): Violin Sonata No. 1, Op. 18, Cello Sonata No. 2, Op. 89 “La Divina Commedia”, 4 Danses à la mode for Solo Cello, Op. 101, Bassoon Sonata, Op. 121.
Catalogue Number: 08T059
Label: Toccata Classics
Description: This appealing disc beautifully demonstrates why Rosner's unique idiom sounds at once so refreshingly original and so comfortingly familiar. All the hallmarks of his style are here; the grounding in Renaissance polyphony, mediæval and Baroque forms, modalities from western history and other cultures and strong tonal centres, the latter seldom used in the sense of functional tonality, and a Romantic sense of expressive drama. The major works here are the late bassoon sonata, one of his last pieces, and the 1990 cello sonata. The bassoon sonata is highly chromatic and serious in tone; even the scherzo has a sense of weight and restraint. The cello work, to which the composer appended the subtitle referencing Dante, for unknown reasons, is especially striking. The first movement has a severe austerity, while the second sums up Rosner's idiom perfectly; a modal, melismatic melody is punctuated by 'Renaissance' dance episodes. The finale is exuberant and vigorous; Rosner thought highly enough of it to orchestrate it later. The appealing violin sonata is early, but already bears the stamp of the composer's mature style, and the Danses reflect his interest in the modes of music from other cultures, from Indian rāg to Grieg's Norway and Greek folk dance. Curtis Macomber (violin), Maxine Neuman (cello), David Richmond (bassoon), Margaret Kampmeier (piano), Carson Cooman (piano - Op. 121).