CR053 Cover

Arnold Rosner: The Masses (CR053)

Review by Choir & Organ

Listen and buy on Convivium Records

Arnold Rosner once said that his music inhabited a ‘netherworld between really modern and conservatively predictable’. That has made him difficult to understand. His preference for early baroque polyphony wedded to modern triadic techniques often seems incongruous, but allows him extraordinary freedom of expression. Fortunately, Hilary Campbell isn’t put off and delivers these two highly personal Masses – written by a Jewish composer deeply influenced by Catholicism – with brisk confidence. The missa L’Homme arme was written amid the bloody dregs of the Vietnam war, and Rosner’s anger and pacifism are precariously balanced in it; Blossom Street carry off that potential contradiction beautifully. The In nomine Mass is more accommodating, but still bravely bridges renaissance and 20th century, entirely without irony. Again, there’s nothing arch about Campbell’s estimable recording.

Brian Morton, Choir & Organ, 1st July 2020

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