Bernard Rose (1916-1996) is one of the most prominent names in English religious music of the second half of the twentieth century. Although not widely known internationally, Rose was a prominent figure in Anglican choral practice, a multifaceted career as an organist, teacher, conductor and composer. He was responsible for the premiere of choral works by composers such as Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958), accumulated important positions of choirmaster and organist, and contributed decisively to English musical creation, of tonal nature, of the post-war period. He spent a year in captivity, as a prisoner captured by Nazi forces six days after the Battle of Normandy (the famous D-Day).
His music was influenced by composers such as Gerald Finzi (1901-1956), Herbert Howells (1892-1983), Benjamin Britten (1913-1976), Edward Bairstow (1874-1946) and William Henry Harris (1883-1973). However, an identification with earliest compositional traditions in some of his choral compositions is also noteworthy, along with a repertoire that often assumes a dramatic character.
The Bernard Rose album: Music for Choir and Organ is an excellent business card for this composer’s work, combining a cappella choral music, repertoire for choir and organ and also solo organ, in a total of 21 works composed between the years of 1939 and 1994. The performances are given by the Estonian Chamber Philharmonic Choir under the direction of Gregory Rose (son of the composer) and Ene Salumäe at the organ of the Methodist Church of Tallinn (Estonia).
The recording shows considerable quality, both from the point of view of sound and interpretation, and a significant number of works are recorded here for the first time.