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Robert Cummings
MusicWeb International, September 2020

All three performances are excellent as Giancarlo Guerrero draws utterly splendid playing from the Nashville Symphony. This ensemble has made a surprisingly large number of recordings over the years, much of it devoted to contemporary music, which seems to be their bread and butter as evidenced by these performances. The playing is very spirited, with precise execution, fine balances and dynamics, and an idiomatic grasp on the style of the music. Their account of the Concerto for Orchestra is simply stunning to my ears and the other two works are both splendidly brought off too. Kudos to both the conductor and this fine ensemble. © 2020 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Karl W. Nehring
Classical Candor, August 2020

Rouse’s opening tip of the hat to Beethoven is played energetically by the Nashville forces under the direction of Maestro Guerrero. As the CD opens, that four-note theme jumps out from the speakers with manic intensity. As Rouse indicated, it is the same—but different. As the symphony proceeds, the orchestration is colorful and played with precision and gusto. © 2020 Classical Candor Read complete review




Steph Power
BBC Music Magazine, August 2020

The Concerto for Orchestra (2008) explores not dissimilar terrain, but edges towards a riotously colourful ending as each player becomes a soloist. With typical directness Rouse once said of it, ‘the threat level on this piece is Orange. It’s rooted in the 12-tone system and the dissonance level is quite high.’ It’s also brilliantly orchestrated and zestfully performed. © 2020 BBC Music Magazine Read complete review



David A. McConnell
The Classic Review, August 2020

The music switches texture, dynamic and mood with often alarming abruptness, but Guerrero and his players ensure the shifts have an organic naturalness that is surely the result of careful and intense rehearsal. Incredible virtuosity is required, both in solos and corporately, from every section of the orchestra, and the Nashville players are fully equal to the demands of this difficult music. The woodwind playing is especially impressive, particularly the oboe.

This is intensely communicative music that deserves and rewards repeated listening. © 2020 The Classic Review Read complete review




David Gutman
Classicalsource.com, August 2020

Here are two world premiere recordings plus a third assumed to be ahead of the pack at the time of the concerts from which its taping derives. As is customary with this composer, all three works blend reassuringly accessible, sometimes deliberately second-hand gestures and harmonies with more disruptive provocations, whether rooted in Bergian modernism or patented below stairs. Rouse’s blasting, percussive tendency has its origins in the rock music he once taught, innovatively, at the Eastman School of Music…

I’d say the voicing of chords feels Nordic when not unashamedly cinematic, nudged from cliché into magic in a manner quintessentially Rouse’s own. The Nashville team make the argument less static than their rivals in a hall with the right kind of bloom. © 2020 Classicalsource.com Read complete review



Records International, August 2020

Pulitzer Prize and GRAMMY Award winner Christopher Rouse’s imaginative approach made him one of the most frequently performed composers during his lifetime. The Concerto for Orchestra of 2008 is a ‘hyper-concerto’ that gives each player a chance to shine; the result is a wonderfully colorful and dramatic sequence of contrast and juxtaposition that mingles virtuosity, orchestral lyricism and progressive symphonic development of ideas while the mournful intimacy and passion of Supplica (2013) unfolds somewhat like the slow movement of a Bruckner or Mahler symphony. © 2020 Records International Read complete review




Remy Franck
Pizzicato, July 2020

Giancarlo Guerrero’s conducting is very sensitive and lyrical.

The concluding Concerto for Orchestra, dedicated to Marin Alsop, first contrasts smaller virtuoso and calm passages, followed by a longer calm and reflective part and finally an Allegro, which reaches a frenzied, almost hysterical climax. This very characteristic and exciting work can also be heard in a gripping performance, which concludes this grandiose and recommendable CD. As the first complete Rouse-CD after the composer’s death in 2019, the Naxos release is a welcome and top-class homage to this wonderful composer. © 2020 Pizzicato Read complete review



Jonathan Blumhofer
The Arts Fuse, July 2020

…Rouse’s Fifth is a brilliant piece: bright, accessible, fresh, direct, crafty. There’s much of interest to be had here—thematically, instrumentally, and structurally—and it’s all played to the hilt by Giancarlo Guerrero and the Nashville Symphony Orchestra (NSO).

…The Guerrero leads the NSO in a nicely-driven reading of Supplica, a brooding, Sibelius-like essay from 2014. A sober piece it is, but, in these hands not a grim one—just what the day (and this album) requires. © 2020 The Arts Fuse Read complete review




Norman Lebrecht
Ludwig Van Toronto, July 2020

His [Rouse] handling of orchestral colour is virtuosic and his knowledge of public taste and tolerance restricts the symphony to a tight 30 minutes. Giancarlo Guerrero conducts the excellent Nashville Symphony with suppleness and subtlety. The half-hour passes very fast. © 2020 Ludwig Van Toronto Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, July 2020

Christopher Rouse had taken us to the cutting edge of modernity among American composers when he died last September, just weeks after this disc was completed.

With the Second Viennese School as its parent, he still remained within the structural bounds of ‘classical’ form, as you will find in his Fifth Symphony. Completed in 2015, it is in one continuous movement, but then subdivided mostly by tempo and dynamics. It was, he related, at the age of six that he heard a disc of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, and it was to totally change his world. At that very same age a Wagner opera disc did the same for me, so at least we have something in common, though I never understand Rouse’s thoughts that his music will be something that today’s concert audiences want to hear. More to the point, he needs us to listen afresh to the sounds that a standard symphony orchestra can produce, and then for our minds to respond to that new language, here, for instance, the timpani barrage is certain to wake you up in the finale. The Concerto for Orchestra, at around twenty-nine minutes, is almost as long as his symphony, and dates from 2008, but it is in a very different world to Bartok’s Concerto. His colours are rather more primary in their import, dynamics taken to extremes, his object being to create a ‘hyper-concerto’ where each player is given a chance to shine. That is not immediately obvious to the listener, though I guess it is a very searching test for the orchestra, a fact the Nashville Symphony, and their conductor, Giancarlo Guerrero, obviously enjoyed. As a complete contrast, Supplica’s motivating factor is one of prayer, its parentage taking us back to Mahler in his most subdued mode. To sum up, this excellently recorded disc offers Rouse in many moods, and American music will be greatly impoverished by his passing. © 2020 David’s Review Corner



Colin’s Column, July 2020

As so often with Rouse, the music is compelling and universal… Throughout, the Nashville Symphony and Giancarlo Guerrero do this Rouse triptych proud. © 2020 Colin’s Column





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