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