Orchestral Music of Christian Jost – TiefenRausch, CocoonSymphony

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I’ve listened to this recording many times during the past several months, and my appreciation of it only continues to grow.

Composer and conductor Christian Jost was born in 1963 in Trier, Germany. He began his musical studies in Cologne and completed them at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Currently, he lives in Berlin, working as a freelance conductor and composer. Two of his works are on this new Capriccio album. TiefenRausch (Rapture of the Deep) is a violin concerto written in 1997, performed here by violinist Viviane Hagner. CocoonSymphony, Five movements of a Trip to the Center for large Orchestra was written in 2003.

Mr. Jost’s music is characterized by extraordinary complexity and depth of emotion. He employs an enormous range of dynamics and color. His extensive sections of development can have so many different musical ideas layered over one another that the result can seem almost random. For example, his use of polyrhythm often contains so many individual cells of rhythmic ideas that it is as though you are experiencing music that is alive. Indeed, I often had this feeling listening to his music that is was growing organically. It is so challenging and interesting that you can hear it again and again, each time discovering new details.

The great musical thinker and composer Ernst Toch stated that transitions are one of the most important shaping forces in music. This quotation from Mr. Jost supports that precept, and lends interesting insights to his music: “Transition is very important to me. In virtually all forms of art shaped by time, such as literature, music or film, the manner in which transitions are done, how one moves from one state to the next, from one section to the next, slides, strides or tumbles, shows from which cloth the author is cut. In my opinion the quality of an artwork becomes apparent in the transitions.”

This music is not easy listening, but if you bought and enjoyed an earlier recommendation from Expedition Audio, Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Out of Nowhere, this will be right down your alley.