Golijov: Yiddishbbuk

Golijov: Yiddishbbuk

by Todd Palmer
     
 

Argentinean-born Osvaldo Golijov has fast become the must-hear composer of the new generation, and this collection of chamber works that range in date from 1992 to 2001 shows what all the to-do is about. Golijov's musical vocabulary is primarily tonal -- particularly in gentle moments, when he seems at his best -- but he's not afraid…  See more details below

Overview

Argentinean-born Osvaldo Golijov has fast become the must-hear composer of the new generation, and this collection of chamber works that range in date from 1992 to 2001 shows what all the to-do is about. Golijov's musical vocabulary is primarily tonal -- particularly in gentle moments, when he seems at his best -- but he's not afraid to reach for more adventurous devices when the mood becomes agitated. The result is compelling music that often has a traditional feel, but with a distinctly modern accent. Above all, however, Yiddishbbuk reveals Golijov's deep attachment to the Jewish music that is his heritage, with liberal borrowings from Klezmer and other eastern European idioms. The quintet, The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind (1994), for example, is an epic piece that is redolent with Jewish history and culture; indeed, Golijov writes in the booklet that he hears its various movements in three separate languages: ancient Aramaic, colloquial Yiddish, and sacred Hebrew. Timeless and hauntingly beautiful, it is such a striking composition that Todd Palmer, the clarinetist, has declared it the successor to Mozart and Brahms's great clarinet quintets. The title work (1992), a quartet, is no less interwoven with Jewish culture, but it is by far the more concentrated and forceful, beginning with a remembrance of children interned in a Nazi concentration camp. Other movements celebrate Isaac Bashevis Singer and Leonard Bernstein. Lullaby and Doina (2001) began life as music for the film The Man Who Cried, yet it stands on its own quite well, sweetly melodic and evocative of eastern European folk styles. In contrast, the opening work, Last Round (1996), is a fanciful homage to Golijov's great countryman, Astor Piazzolla, and one can almost hear the old tango master working his bandoneon in the bracing first movement. The St. Lawrence Quartet, which has collaborated closely with Golijov since their first meeting at Tanglewood in 1992, plays his music with intense dedication and the understanding of an old friend. Palmer, too, is an apt partner and makes a surprisingly successful klezmer player. The sound quality is excellent, affording an ideal window onto this talented composer's distinctive and enthralling musical world.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
This collection of chamber works by Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov (born in 1960) is centered around performances by the St. Lawrence String Quartet. This is full-blooded, first-rate contemporary chamber music that emphasizes emotion and rich textures over the thorniness and preoccupation with technique that has been the dominant factor in New Music since World War II. "Yiddishbbuk" contains four works written between 1992 and 2001. Many of these works deal with the Jewish experience, reflecting Golijov's own roots and making tasteful use of gestures identifiable with Judaic music, such as sliding tones, Hebrew scales and leaping, and Hora-like rhythmic patterns. The focus of "Last Round" is the tango and it serves as a tribute to bandoneonist and composer Astor Piazzolla (1921 -- 1991). Scored for double string quartet and double bass, "Last Round" begins with a fast section that literally pummels the listener into attention; once it has done that, it never lets go. It is followed by "Lullaby and Doina," which is the most comfortably approachable music here. The title work, "Yiddishbbuk," is both the oldest and most in-your-face work on the disc, but that shouldn't stop anyone from checking it out. Listeners who enjoy the string quartet music of Stravinsky and Charles Ives will doubtless find something to enjoy in "Yiddishbbuk." Todd Palmer joins the St. Lawrence on multiple clarinets in the final work, "The Dreams and Prayers of Issac the Blind," which is probably the disc's weak point, as the music, while it is in character, isn't as focused as the rest of the works here. These performances by the St. Lawrence String Quartet can be regarded as definitive and the recorded sound, produced by veteran Max Wilcox, is outstanding.
BBC Online - Andrew McGregor
[The St. Lawrence Quartet's] playing throughout the disc is superb, passionately committed as you'd expect from the first string quartet to have worked closely with Golijov.... If [Goljov's music] is new to you, try and hear this CD. However you react to it, you're unlikely to forget it.

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Product Details

Release Date:
06/04/2002
Label:
Emi Classics
UPC:
0724355735621
catalogNumber:
57356

Tracks

  1. Last Round, for 2 string quartets & double bass  - Osvaldo Golijov  - Mark Dresser  -  St. Lawrence String Quartet  -  Ying Quartet
  2. Lullaby and Doina, for flute, clarinet, string quartet & double bass  - Osvaldo Golijov  - Todd Palmer  - Tara Helen O'Connor  - Mark Dresser  -  St. Lawrence String Quartet
  3. Yiddishbbuk, insriptions for string quartet  - Osvaldo Golijov  -  St. Lawrence String Quartet
  4. Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind, for clarinet & string quartet  - Osvaldo Golijov  - Todd Palmer  -  St. Lawrence String Quartet

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