Jan Van Der Roost: Sirius; Sinfonia per Orchestra; Manhattan Pictures

Belgian composer Jan Van der Roost was born in 1956 and currently teaches counterpoint and fugue at the Lemmensinstituut, the Belgian conservatory in Leuven. From Navona Records comes this program of three of Mr. Van der Roost’s orchestral pieces: Sirius (2003), a brilliant thirteen minute overture, the four movement Sinfonia per Orchestra (1989), and Manhattan Pictures, a vibrant composition evoking the multicultural makeup of Manhattan.

Van der Roost has over ninety compositions to his credit. Most of these are for wind band, but he has also been active writing for chorus and for orchestra. His extensive experience composing for band is evident in how effective his writing is for the wind, brass and percussion sections of the orchestra.

The music is exciting, colorful, interesting, and often flat-out beautiful. Mr. Van der Roost does not shy away from writing glorious music that can lift you from your seat. It is richly varied with highly contrasting sections and fascinating transitions between them. He is a very skilled orchestrator. Contrabass clarinet, saxophone, contrabassoon, piccolo, bass drum, chimes, cymbals and gong all have a place in his orchestra and his use of them is most effective. If all of this sounds appealing, be certain to listen to the samples of Sirius provided by Navona in the accompanying video. You can hear more samples from this album by visiting the album details page on the HBDirect website.

Polished performances come from the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra under Vladimir Lande in Sirius and the Sinfonia, and from the Orchestra of the Belgian Radio under Fernand Terby playing Manhattan Pictures. There are a few minor intonation lapses from the St. Pete’s group, but overall, the playing on the entire album is all you could ask for. Navona Records mission statement reads, in part “Navona offers listeners a fresh taste of today’s leading innovators in orchestral, chamber, instrumental, and experimental music…” They have delivered on their promise with this recording and I’ll be on the lookout for more music by Jan Van der Roost.

Album Overview

Belgian-native Jan Van der Roost leads a prolific career as a composer, writing works that span a variety of genres and styles, from oratorios and symphonies to lieder cycles and wind band chamber pieces. Van der Roost’s unique style has ushered international renown, with his works recorded and performed worldwide, in addition to his guest professorships across four continents. SIRIUS, Van der Roost’s debut solo release on Navona, presents three of his orchestral works: Sirius, a bright overture commissioned by De Nieuwe Veste; Sinfonia Per Orchestra, a four-movement cyclical piece commissioned by the Lemmensinstituut in Leuven; and Manhattan Pictures, a colorful piece evoking the multi-cultural atmosphere of Manhattan.


Jan Van Der Roost, composer

Jan Van der Roost was born in Duffel, Belgium, in 1956. He studied trombone, history of music and musical education at the Lemmensinstituut in Leuven (Louvain) and continued his studies at the Royal Conservatoires of Ghent and Antwerp, where he qualified as a conductor and a composer.


Vladimir Lande, conductor

Conductor Vladimir Lande is the Principal Guest Conductor of the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra (Russia). He is a guest conductor of the National Gallery Orchestra in Washington D.C.; Music Director of the COSMIC Symphony Orchestra, the Washington Soloists Chamber Orchestra in Washington D.C., and Johns Hopkins University Chamber Orchestra.


St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra

The orchestra was established in 1967. Its first leaders were outstanding masters of the Leningrad conducting school: Nikolai Rabinovich, Karl Eliasberg, and Edward Grikurov.


Fernand Terby, conductor

Philharmonic Orchestra of the Belgian Radio

The history of the BRT Philharmonic Orchestra, Brussels goes back to the birth of the Belgian Radio in the 1930s. In 1978 the Radio Symphony Orchestra was dissolved and both the Flemish and the French Radio divisions set up their own symphony orchestras.



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