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Golijov: Ayre / Berio: Folk Songs

19 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 27, 2005
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$13.65 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 4 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

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Golijov: Ayre / Berio: Folk Songs + Oceana + Golijov: Ainadamar - Fountain of Tears
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This is a fascinating CD, containing two song cycles--one brand new, by Osvaldo Golijov, and one dating from 1964, by Luciano Berio. Berios's is a setting of folk songs from several countries, including France, Italy, America, and Sardinia. Golijov's songs are in Spanish, but they cross Christian, Jewish, and Arab cultures. The Berio arrangements contain nicely odd harmonic cadences in the accompaniments. Dawn Upshaw sings them simply and directly, albeit in what might be called a traditional operatic, if low-keyed, fashion. Golijov's songs are strange, daring, and magnificent, in composition, accompaniment, rhythm, and vocal delivery. To be sure, Upshaw uses an operatic sound for much of the cycle, but she lets loose with some of the most remarkable yelps, hoots, and bellows to express the texts and situations as well. The songs vary: some are prayers, some folk songs, some lullabies. Golijov orchestrates with accordion, horn, laptop computer (electronica), flute, violin, viola, and more--and the sounds fit the words. He doesn't seem to care whether he's making music classical or popular: as a result he has created something unique. Fans of pop music will be as entranced by this as will those specializing in classical music. Try this--it's remarkable. --Robert Levine

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Product Details

  • Performer: Andalucian Dogs Ensemble
  • Composer: Luciano Berio, Osvaldo Golijov
  • Audio CD (September 27, 2005)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B000ASDG9E
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,134 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 28, 2005
Format: Audio CD
In what must be the most intriguing and creative recording yet this year, AYRE, a work for soprano and instrumentalists by Osvaldo Golijov, is a winner. Dawn Upshaw and a fascinating instrumental group called the Andalucian Dogs perform this amalgam of musical ideas of Christian, Arab, and Sephardic Jewish cultures in Spain with traditional instruments, tribal, Klezmer, jazz, and unclassifiable types of compositions by the ever creative Golijov. The work is peppery, moody, lusty and a total joy to hear.

Translations of some of the titles of the individual songs include 'A mother roasted her child', 'Until you return', 'My eyes weep', 'Be a string, water, to my guitar', 'Ariadne in her labyrinth' and the breathtaking 'Oh where shall I find you' in which Upshaw offers otherworldly primal chanting, speaking, and singing. Golijov writes vividly for the harp, percussion, strings and wind instruments, weaving the voice as not only a communicator of the poetry but as an integral part of the instrumental sound. This is an extraordinary composition and one that Dawn Upshaw (this time with the eighth blackbird ensemble) will tour the country. If you are near a performance, don't miss it. Meanwhile the recording is so superb that it seems bound for Grammy awards.

Rounding out this CD are the Folksongs by Luciano Berio (written for his wife Cathy Berberian who also recorded them) as sung by the incredibly gifted Dawn Upshaw. The songs (ten in number) are from the US, France, Italy, Sardinia, Auvergne - France, Sicily, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. And yes, Upshaw sings each in native tongue! The settings are minimally orchestrated for maximum effect and the performances are gently magnificent. This is a CD that deserves the attention of all types of music lovers. And it serves even more notice of the genius that is Osvaldo Golijov. Highly Recommended! Grady Harp, September 05
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 31, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Oswaldo Golijov wrote his 2004 song cycle, Ayre, as a mirror of the Berio song cycle, Folk Songs, from 1964. Both are easy listening in a somewhat updated modernist vein. Dawn Upshaw sings in at least seven languages, inclduing the lost language of Sephardic Jews from southern Spain. Golijov asks her to imitate the melismatic style of Arab vocalism, but with many twists and turns into other styles, Christian and Jewish. His cycle is the more adventurous in form, gliding seamlessly from spoken word to song, sometimes wordless vocalise, sometimes set to modern or ancient poetry. The texts are very obscure, and a listener can easily ignore the words and enjoy Ayre as a tour de force of pure singing centered on gorgeous, exotically perfumed melody.

The infectious Berio cycle is more conventional, in that one song follows another with a clear separation and mostly easy tunes. Some of the songs are as familiar as "Black is the color of my true love's hair" and "I wonder as I wander," and for these Berio has devised clever, engaging chamber accompaniments, atlthough these often wander independently of the tune. Things get wilder with items like the yowled Sicilian ballad, "Femminisca," with its clanging percussive accompaniment. Upshaw is asked to adapt her voice to conflicting vocal styles here, too.

I won't go so far as to call it dated, but the Berio is less coherent and stylistically unified than the Golijov cycle. Its diverse singing styles are a savory mish-mash, while Ayre, which is firmly centered in Spanish medieval folk singing, feels more satisfying as it rises and falls in mood.

Overall, this CD is tuneful and simple enough that it could catch on as pop or world music. Golijo clearly has found a niche for himself, and his talent at vocal settings and exotic atmosphere is driving his fast-rising career qquite successfully.
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84 of 109 people found the following review helpful By MartinP on February 26, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Witness the awesome power of marketing! Golijov is hailed as all but the 21st century Mozart; even the venerable Gramophone Magazine has joined the chorus of praise: "intoxicating", "endlessly haunting", unforgettably beautiful". So before you've thought twice you'll have bought this disc, and what do you end up with? I'll put it briefly: a facile hotchpotch of improvisatory, crowd-pleasing cross-over, with the staying power of any glittering soap bubble. Ayre is entertaining enough, no doubt about that. It is expertly played and seductively sung, quirky enough to give the superficial impression of modernity, but without ever truly challenging the listener on any level, or offering anything essentially new. The problem is that Golijov presents us with a series of elaborations on Klezmer, Arabic and Mediterranean folk music for which far more enticing alternatives are available from artists closer to the original sources. Try Rabih Abou-Khalil for truly unforgettable adaptations of Arabic music, for instance. And though Golijov's multinational cocktail does not include Scandinavia, those who like Ayre are bound to be blown away by the songs of Sami artist Mari Boine, that in my view operate on rather deeper levels of profundity. And for exotic vocal effects, check out Toby Twining.

Ayre is no match either for the cycle of Berio Folksongs that inspired it - the Berio work is far more coherent and simply has more substance as a work of art. Upshaw's version of it is undeniably committed, but does not erase memories of the phenomenal reading by Jard van Nes and musicians from the Concertgebouw Orkest (Decca).
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Recording quality?
Soooooooooooooo you're probably not around anymore but for the curious; the sound is beefy but clear and gorgeous.
Apr 10, 2008 by Peanut |  See all 2 posts
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