POUL RUDERS (b.1949): Music of, Vol. 6 - Piano Concerto No. 2 (Vassily Primakov [piano], Norwegian Radio Orchestra; Thomas Søndergård), Serenade on the Shores of the Cosmic Ocean for Accordion and String Quartet (Mikko Luoma [accordion], iO String Quartet), Bel Canto for Solo Violin (Rune Tonsgaard Sorensen).
Catalogue Number: 07N094
Description: The very recent concerto is Ruders' take on the idea of the traditional big-boned Romantic virtuoso vehicle. The work is firmly grounded in tonality and conforms to the customary three-movement layout, with exhilarating toccata-like figuration in the first movement, a lively rondo-finale and a central slow movement. However, being Ruders, there is an element of stylistic eclecticism, and a tendency to set up and then subvert expectations, for example in the slow movement, which begins in deceptively childlike simplicity before being interrupted by nightmarishly dissonant blasts. But the innocent material somehow persists, suggesting that rather than real horrors, the intruding brutality was merely a child's night terrors. Both fast movements pay tribute to Prokofiev and Ravel, with the cheeky intrusion of jazzy gestures for variety. The Serenade is a series of musical illustrations of aphorisms related to the cosmos, and specifically the ideas of Carl Sagan. Here, Ruders allows his eclectic tendencies full rein, with wildly clustered heterophonic music alternating with tonal melody of the utmost simplicity, studies in mysterious sonorism, and unexpected reminiscences of conventional, even sentimental music - the voices of humans gazing at the stars. Bel Canto was a competition piece, emphasizing refinement and sustained melody in an introverted, melancholy lament.