Osvaldo Golijov
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Ayre (2004): Reviews
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From: Boston Herald (T.J. Medrek)

When it's time to write the history of early 21st century music, there surely will be a chapter on the collaboration between composer Osvaldo Golijov and soprano Dawn Upshaw. It's becoming clearer with every new piece that Golijov is fast becoming one of the most important composers for voice today - and that Upshaw is both his perfect muse and prophet...

...But it was "Ayre," commissioned for Upshaw as a companion piece to the Berio, that provided the versatile Upshaw with a chance to show us everything she's got. At times, thanks to electronic wizardry (yes, the work used amplification and digital what-not), she gave us something too good to be imaginable: multiple Upshaws singing together.

Golijov's setting of Spanish folk songs from Christian, Jewish and Arab cultures, demands everything from soft lyrical singing to wild, nasal yelps from his soprano, and Upshaw reveled in the opportunities to prove, yet again, that she's not just another pretty voice.

As for the ensemble players, I can't do better than quote Golijov's opening remarks: "I don't know about the piece, but the little orchestra we have is unbelievable."

They were indeed – and so, it turned out, was the piece.

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