VAN DER ROOST: Sirius and other works for Orchestra = Sirius; Sinfonia for Orchestra; Manhattan Pictures – St. Petersburg State Sym. Orch./ Vladimir Lande; Philharmonic Orch. of the Belgian Radio/ Fernand Terby – Navona Records NV5919 59:00 (6/25/13) [Distr. by Naxos] ****:
This is a first exposure to Belgian composer Jan Van der Roost, and it has been a positive experience. This CD contains four of the composer’s 90 works. He’s predominantly a composer for brass and wind band, but this collection contains orchestral music.
Sirius, the first track on the disc is cinematic in sound, almost music that might accompany a crime or action film. It has some striking melodies, and some dissonance, but the track is imminently listenable. It brings to mind the music of Persichetti and William Schuman, and hints of Shostakovich.
The disc also offers the Sinfonia for Orchestra, composed in 1989, a four movement piece It has varied orchestral and percussion colors, and is challenging music well played by the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra.
The final selection is Manhattan Pictures performed by the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Belgian Radio conducted by Fernand Terly. The orchestra functions as a large wind band in this composition. Van der Roost has written that the work is designed to reflect the ethnic diversity of Manhattan. This is a four movement work and is a more traditional composition bringing Copland and other contemporary North American composers to mind. Like the other works on the disc, there is an emphasis on brass and percussion. Van der Roost studied trombone during his musical education, and his affinity for brass is discernible.
The recordings are very well done, with a middle-hall perspective. There is no congestion in loud passages. Recording venues were in Russia and Belgium. This disc also functions as a CD-ROM, so if you put it in your computer you will get access to study scores, notes, and some videos. The files are Flash-based, so you will need Flash on your Mac or PC to view the material.