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Symphony 1 / Phantasmata

8 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 11, 2004
$10.70 $5.52

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 11, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: First Edition
  • ASIN: B00020HBV4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,192,473 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Fartmeister on January 27, 2002
Format: Audio CD
There seems to be a stigma surrounding new music that prevents many audiences from ever experiencing the sheer passion and beauty that is often created by today's many gifted composers. Fortunately, Christopher Rouse's music is heard relatively often, which is a blessing for both the composer and the listener.
The "Symphony #1" is one of Rouse's most tonal pieces. It was composed shortly after the extremely dissonant, atonal, and fast-paced "Gorgon"--Rouse describes the two as a "yin and yang to each other". Therefore, the aim of this piece is an adagio and tonal (though still dissonant, but do you expect otherwise from Rouse?) piece. The tonality is often blurred, but certain recurring melodic and rhythmic motives enrapture the listener. Rouse infuses too much passion and emotion into the score to solicit any loss of interest. In short, it's difficult to get bored during the 24 minutes that make up this piece.
"Phantasmata", on the other hand, is less emotionally taxing and more fun. It is a much more dissonant piece, which may turn off some listeners, but if you don't mind that sort of thing, this piece shouldn't be missed either.
I can't really comment on the performance, since there are no other recordings I know of that I can compare it with, but the Baltimore Symphony does justice to the demanding score.
It's a keeper.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 30, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Christopher Rouse has become one of America's most special and amazing composers. This is a wonderful recording of his deeply moving first symphony, a tragic but finally consoling work. David Zinman is one of Rouse's biggest champions, so I am certain that this recording represents the music as the composer wished it to sound. This is not difficult music to listen to in terms of style, though its dark message may make it hard for some to grapple with. Phantasmata is a more dissonant piece, but somehow it all turns out to be fun. This is extraordinary music.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jerry of San Francisco on December 20, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is powerful music. Though it is modern music, I think it will find a large audience of classical music and beyond. The theme is very sad throughout and reminds me of Wagner, Shostokovitch and Mahler. There are a couple of times when the music is quiet and suddently startles with it's intensity. The recording is good.
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Format: MP3 Music
Christopher Rouse is a modern, living American composer with a very impressive Curriculum Vita and about 50 compositions to his credit. Born in Baltimore, MD, his music education includes a bachelor degree from Oberlin and graduate degrees from Cornell where he studied with Karel Husa. He also studied privately with George Crumb. He has held faculty positions at U. of Michigan, Eastman, and since 1997 at Juilliard. His most prominent composition student is Michael Torke. Stylistically, Rouse is considered a neoromantic composer. With regard to the present album, David Zinman leads the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Rubbra's Symphony No. 1 and Phantasmata.

Symphony 1 begins eerily with high violins that are subsequently joined by a tutti explosion. The 1st and only movement is largely comprised of this rather dark and frequently ominous music which at times increases in interest, texture, and dynamic volume. Still, it reminds you of the score to a fright film. To be fair, however, the music is of MUCH higher quality than most of those films. There is plenty of percussion bombast to work out your audio systems and prized subwoofers. At times, the music becomes conventionally and beautifully tonal. Rouse is a bit of a chameleon. I like that, but I sometimes wondered if we were stretching the definition of music as we know it. I have maintained for years that modern music, if nothing else, cleans the cobwebs out of our brains and prevents us from becoming stale in our listening habits. Symphony 1 does that job and does it well. It IS music, after all. It just isn't music we are accustomed to hearing. For me, it is worth repeated listening sessions.
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