Christopher Rouse - Composer

Press and Program Notes


Odna Zhizn

Program Note by the Composer

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.

Christopher Rouse

Musical America

Georgia Rowe

"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."

The New York Times

Allan Kozinn

"Odna Zhizn is a magical score." (Click to read the entire article)

The Baltimore Sun

Joel Puckett

"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)

Return to Works for Solo Instrument and Orchestra | Return to Program Notes & Press

Home | Biography | Performances | News | Recordings | Contacts