In Russian, "odna zhizn" means "a life." This fifteen-minute work has been composed in homage to a person of Russian ancestry who is very dear to me. Her life has not been an easy one, and the struggles she has faced are reflected in the sometimes peripatetic nature of the music. While quite a few of my scores have symbolically translated various words into notes and rhythms, this process has been carried to an extreme degree in "Zhizn": virtually all of the music is focused on the spelling of names and other phrases, and it was an enormous challenge for me to fashion these materials into what I hoped would be a satisfying musical experience that functions both as the public portrayal of an extraordinary life as well as a private love letter.
© 2008 by Christopher Rouse
These program notes can be reproduced free of charge with the following credit:
Reprinted by kind permission of Christopher Rouse
"The writing is deftly layered, with an introduction of cushiony strings and fluttering woodwinds giving way to feverish outbursts. Like MacMillan, Rouse made full use of Cabrillo's extensive percussion battery, and there were moments of drama approaching chaos before the work subsided in an expansive coda. Odna Zhizn reveals a Romantic heart, which Alsop brought to the fore in a lush, beautiful reading."
"Odna Zhizn is a magical score." (Click to read the entire article)
"I don't think any of us were expecting the incredibly straightforward and STAGGERINGLY beautiful opening of the piece." (Click to read the entire article)