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  • Rochberg: Symphony No. 5 / Black Sounds / Transcendental Variations
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Rochberg: Symphony No. 5 / Black Sounds / Transcendental Variations


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Audio CD, July 15, 2003
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Rochberg: Symphony No. 5 / Black Sounds / Transcendental Variations + Violin Concerto + String Quartets 3-6
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Editorial Reviews


Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Symphony No. 528:57$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Black Sounds14:30$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Transcendental Variations: I. Adagio sereno; molto espressivo e tranquillo 3:51$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Transcendental Variations: II. Andante con moto 1:16$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Transcendental Variations: III. Poco adagio 2:14$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Transcendental Variations: IV. Poco allegretto; grazioso e leggiero; amoroso 2:35$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Transcendental Variations: V. Andantino grazioso; sempre leggiero 1:30$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Transcendental Variations: VI. Moving gently 2:04$0.89  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Transcendental Variations: VII. Molto adagio e tranquillo; sereno 4:01$0.89  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Orchestra: Saarbrücken Radio Symphony
  • Conductor: Christopher Lyndon-Gee
  • Composer: George Rochberg
  • Audio CD (July 15, 2003)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos American Classics
  • Run Time: 62 minutes
  • ASIN: B00009L4W5
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #195,822 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Darin Tysdal on August 26, 2003
Format: Audio CD
George Rochberg must be mighty happy with Naxos, with two major releases of his music, and two recordings of the same piece (Black Sounds)! They are also well recorded and performed. When I first heard the 5th symphony I thought, "This reminds me a lot of the Tippett 4th Symphony (my favorite contemporary symphonic work). There are some similarities. Both were composed for the Chicago Symphony and Sir Georg Solti and both feature large orchestras, especially the brass. Both are in one movement subdivided into subsections with recaps of earlier material. Wheras the Tippett ends softly, the Rochberg 5th ends loudly. There is lots of Mahler in this work, and lots of emotion and heart. There is also melody. In my opinion, Rochberg isn't writing especially listener-friendly music, he is just writing as he feels. As in the Tippett, dissonance means strife and conflict, and tonality means the resolution of that strife. In his well-written notes for this recording, Christopher Lyndon-Gee tells how smitten with this work he became when he heard this work in rehearsal (he was up for the assistant conducting job for the CSO.)Black Sounds is the work that is duplicated between the two discs. This is affected by Varese, and is a work for winds and percussion which is in his "older", more dissonant style. It is brilliantly performed here. The Trancendental Variaions come as a complete shock. This is an arrangement of a movement of his 3rd String Quartet, and it is one that got Rochberg in hot water with his contemporaries for being "too tonal" or "too melodic". Now that we are used to works like the Gorecki 3rd Symphony, music like this takes on a special meaning. The only other comparison I can make is with Schoenberg's Verklarte Nacht. This work is truly a tonic for a troubled world, and it deserves all of the airplay and performances it can muster. Thanks to these Naxos recordings, George Rochberg is again proven as a potent force in American music today.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 13, 2003
Format: Audio CD
This is an outstanding CD. It consists of three orchestral works by the contemporary American composer, George Rochberg (b. 1916), including world premiere recordings of his Symphony No. 5 and his Transcendental Variations. The Saarbrucken Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Christopher Lyndon-Gee offer impassioned, convincing performances. Lyndon-Gee's liner notes for the CD are insightful and informative. The CD comes at a budget price as part of the Naxos "American Classics" series.
But the overriding reason to hear this CD is Rochberg's music. During a long compositional career, Rochberg has used many styles ranging from atonality to traditional diatonic music. This disc has examples of several different combinations of tonal and atonal music. For all their stylistic differences, the music on this CD has a passionate, visceral appeal, combined with a discipline and tautness resulting from attention to musical form. Lyndon-Gee's liner notes aptly use the term "hard romanticism" to describe this music.
The highlight of this CD is Rochberg's infrequently heard Symphony No. 5 (1984-1985) which is here recorded for the first time. This is a symphony of about 28 minutes which consists of a single movement. The symphony divides into 7 separate sections which Rochberg weaves together without pause. Sections of passionate, tumultuous, dissonant music alternate with three plaintive, reflective episodes. There is a hypnotic use of repetition and variation of simple musical phrases in this symphony. The work opens with a falling two-note figure which is repeated over and over again with increasing intensity to a chorus of brass. The symphony's orchestration is stunning. The work features effective use of solos, particularly for brass, for oboe and flute and for violin and cello.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By tug-3 on April 1, 2004
Format: Audio CD
What a joy and relief it is finally to have a recording of Rochberg's "Transcendental Variations"! I first heard this piece as played in 1992, when the Pennsylvania Ballet used it as the score for a short pas de deux titled "Face to Face." Since then, I have searched and longed for a recording, once even contacting Mr. Rochberg himself. (He is wonderfully friendly and helpful.)
What higher praise can I give this exquisite piece of music than to say that its opening Variation has stayed in my head since I first heard it twelve years ago? Listening to this crystalline recording for the first time, I experienced the same rapture - and it must be said, the same overwhelming heartbreak (for it is a mournful piece) - one feels upon seeing a long-lost love. Naxos, you have my sincerest thanks!
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25 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Victor A. Grauer on December 19, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I've reserved judgement on George Rochberg for many years. But after listening to his 5th Symphony a few times on this CD (the performance, by the way,is remarkably good, as far as I can tell without a score), I've made up my mind. The guy is basically a musical Walter Mitty. Or Snoopy. "Here's the great, ultra Romantic tormented genius, grappling with the major issues of life, death, transfiguration and like that, just hear how beautifully he can suffer -- and with the best of them." The trouble is, it's not Rochberg who is doing the grappling OR the suffering, it's some image he has in his mind of how Beethoven, Mahler, Schoenberg, etc. must have done it. And he wants to think he can do it too. What's remarkable about THIS Walter Mitty is that he almost CAN. The limited interest this CD has for me is in the almost purely technical fascination I get from hearing how convincing he can be, for a while, when he pulls out all those Mahler/Schoenberg stops (there's a dollop of VERY self-conscious Wagner in there too). He certainly has a very deep grasp of the complex language of late and post Romanticism, no question. But then I hear something simply lifted from some Mahler symphony (the 3rd I think), and later a passage that sounds a LOT like the 5 Pieces for Orchestra, or Erwartung, and then there's that really awful "lyrical" passage based on one of Wagner's favorite melodic moves and I am overwhelmed by the chutzpah of this guy and the utter banality and pretentiousness of his project.

Another very revealing piece on this CD is "Black Sounds." To me this may be a key to understanding Rochberg because it is beginning to look very much as though his real gift is simply: mimicry.
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Rochberg: Symphony No. 5 / Black Sounds / Transcendental Variations
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