Rochberg: Symphony No. 2, Imago Mundi

Rochberg: Symphony No. 2, Imago Mundi

by Christopher Lyndon-Gee
     
 

One of George Rochberg's early successes, the "Symphony No. 2" (1955-1956), is a vigorous work in the rugged American symphonic tradition, shot through with modernist atonality and brusque dissonances, yet filled with muscular themes and energetically argued developments that reveal its essentially traditional character. Cast in five movements and running over 30… See more details below

Overview

One of George Rochberg's early successes, the "Symphony No. 2" (1955-1956), is a vigorous work in the rugged American symphonic tradition, shot through with modernist atonality and brusque dissonances, yet filled with muscular themes and energetically argued developments that reveal its essentially traditional character. Cast in five movements and running over 30 minutes in length, this ambitious essay traverses a broad range of moods and expressions; the dominant tone, however, is active, typified by the punchy accents and propulsive rhythms that dominate the Declamando and the Allegro scherzoso, subside in the Adagio, then return with full force in the Quasi tempo primo and the coda. This symphony's pugnacity is often attributed to Rochberg's experiences in World War II, and this aspect of the work seems emphasized in the hard-edged performance by the Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra under Christopher Lyndon-Gee. In its exotic tone colors and subtle evocation of Gagaku music and Ukiyo-E painting, "Imago Mundi" (1973) is worlds away from the wartime hostilities that fueled the symphony, and reflects Rochberg's impressions from his trip to Japan. Yet certain odd quotations from Shostakovich and Bartók, among others, seem to indicate some ambivalence about the work's subject or direction, and this vagueness seems to have thrown off the conductor and the orchestra, who play with somewhat less enthusiasm, clarity, and cohesion.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times - Bernard Holland
The Saarbrücken Radio Symphony and Christopher Lyndon-Gee have done very well by an American composer too little thought of.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/20/2005
Label:
Naxos American
UPC:
0636943918227
catalogNumber:
8559182
Rank:
340681

Tracks

  1. Symphony No. 2  - George Rochberg  - Christopher Lyndon-Gee  -  Saarbrucken Radio Symphony Orchestra
  2. Imago Mundi, for orchestra  - George Rochberg  - Christopher Lyndon-Gee  -  Saarbrucken Radio Symphony Orchestra

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