GREGORY ROSE (b.1948): Danse macabre for Choir and Chamber Ensemble.
Catalogue Number: 10R071
Label: Toccata Classics
Reference: TOCC 0284
Description: This is a powerful dramatic work in twenty-eight tableaux, musical responses to the panels of a painting by sixteenth century artist Bernt Notke, a Memento mori depicting Death taunting figures from the highest echelons of society and their responses, given in texts that accompany the images. Rose intersperses these texts among those of the requiem mass, and five propulsive orchestral dances - this is after all a Totentanz - in a potently communicative idiom that fuses the composer's long-time championing of modernist choral music with more tonal, instantly accessible vocabularies. The 'dance' movements are strongly rhythmic, with much ostinato patterning; Stravinsky - both the neoclassicism of Oedipus Rex and the late, hieratic choral works - are brought to mind in the sung movements, as is the Britten of the War Requiem in the compelling choral settings of the Mass. The solo movements tend toward the less tonal, rhythmically complex and thorny interchanges between Death and the hapless dignitaries whose lives he claims. The sequencing of these disparate styles is one of the work's great strengths, as it defines the narrative arc of the piece and propels it forward through the contrast of opposing idioms. German-English texts. Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Ensemble; Gregory Rose.