Friday, 11 April 2008

Fountain of Tears

I'm probably the last one to do so, but I have just discovered the composer Osvaldo Golijov.

And what a composer - on the evidence of his oratorio/opera Ainadamar (Fountain of Tears), his music is richly romantic, dramatic, expressive and full of melody and beauty.

I was lucky enough to hear this work's UK premiere last night at Symphony Hall, Birmingham. I confess I was drawn, not by the opportunity to hear a new talent, but because of a rare chance to hear the work's star performer, the glorious American soprano Dawn Upshaw.

Ainadamar is based on the life and legacy of the left-wing Spanish poet and dramatist Federico Garcia Lorca, who was murdered by fascists in 1936.

The piece lasted eighty minutes and my normally feeble attention didn't waver. It was scored for small-scale orchestra, augmented with two guitars, a women's chorus and a subtly integrated succession of recorded sound effects.

But above all it was the beauty and passion of the musical storytelling that gripped me. Glorious.

Find out more about Osvaldo Golijov if you wish, or read a review of Ainadmar.25 April
My enthusiasm for this piece has not been diminished by the drubbing it received from the London reviewers. Here are the thoughts of the Telegraph's Rupert Christiansen.

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