ROBERT GROSLOT (b.1951): The Intimacy of Distance for Soprano and Orchestra, My Green Shade Forest, Trittico incantevole.
Catalogue Number: 06W054
Description: The composer-conductor-pianist continues to impress as one of the best of the modern Romantics, unabashedly and unironically writing music that continues the tradition in a full-blooded tonal idiom and sumptuous orchestration. Drawing on his exhaustive experience of the repertory, he has specialised in writing concerti for various instruments (more than 20 to date), in the grand romantic tradition, as offered previously on 12V010 and 08U060. The Intimacy of Distance effectively functions like one of those bravura concerti, even being described as a concerto for soprano and orchestra by the composer. Its massive orchestral tutti and sense of dialogue between solo protagonist and orchestra, as well as its clear narrative dramatic arc, are very much the hallmarks of the romantic concerto, the latter emphasised by the use of text; poems by Berlin poet Elisa Nathalie Heine (b. 1982). The poems deal with the essential loneliness of the human condition; the distancing that inevitably defines even the most intimate relationships through loss, longing, the impossibility of permanent contact with others, all expressed in a catalogue of intense, oblique, even surreal imagery. Unquiet turbulence in the orchestra surrounds the magnificently written solo line. Imagery of the forest and nature is very much a Romantic mainstay, and Groslot's tone poem celebrates the feelings of the wanderer penetrating into the heart of the forest, starting with a pulsing pedal point and diatonic daylight, and accumulating chromatic shadows and viny entanglements, richness of texture and dissonant menace, finally released in a powerful, stormy climax. Trittico incantevole Was written in tribute to Peter Paul Rubens, whose muscular, dramatic canvases on historical and religious themes anticipate and equal the potent intensity of 18th and 19th century Romanticism. The music evokes the painter's powerful use of lighting and the extraordinary clarity of his complex, dynamic compositions. The "central panel" of the triptych is a passacaglia which progressively reveals a wealth of detail like zooming out to appreciate the intricate details of form in the paintings, and develops into a robust scherzo which climaxes in the writhing muscularity of one of Rubens' groupings of figures in the throes of heroic exertion. Charlotte Wajnberg (soprano), Brussels Philharmonic; Robert Groslot.