This release presents music by two American composers with two very distinctive styles. Arnold Rosner used Medieval and Renaissance music as a starting point for his own work. Carson Cooman’s music is also tonal, although he seems inspired by Century trends.
Rosner’s Piano Quintet No. 2, Op. 103 is one of the high points of the album (for me). Here Rosner’s neo-medieval style is tempered with Impressionism. And it works. The music sounds timeless.
There’s a restless energy present, especially in the polyphonic passages. The London Trio is supplemented with Jacki Harley, violin and Elisa Bergersen, viola. These five performers deliver that energy. They also take time to savor the beauty of Rosner’s elongated melodies.
Cooman’s Kaleidoscope Sky, Op. 1359 was composed for the London Trio. Cooman explains the title — and the music — was inspired by the landscape of Nantucket Island. The single-movement work seems to continually evolve and change. I could picture the early evening sky looking out into the Atlantic doing much the same.
I think having the commissioning artist perform a work adds to the listening experience. The London Trio worked with Cooman. And he wrote to the strengths of both the individual performers and the ensemble. The music builds gradually. But Cooman’s distinctive motifs engage the ear and guide the listener.
Rosner and Cooman have different but not incompatible styles. The London Trio (and friends) deliver a compelling program. This is contemporary music most audiences should relate to.
And for me, any release that adds to Rosner’s recorded catalog is an automatic winner.