Osvaldo Golijov
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How Slow the Wind (2001): Reviews
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     See also: Reviews for Three Songs for Soprano and Orchestra
 
On Monday, Dawn Upshaw sang one number from that work (La Pasion Segun San Marco), "Lúa Descolorida," whose transfixing lyricism and haunting, fluttering melismas suggest that Golijov is one of the finest melodists of our time. The impression was strengthened by "How Slow the Wind," a setting of Emily Dickinson that shows Golijov has also become a New England composer. As in Dickinson's poem, the pain is beautiful and economically expressed, the rhythms simultaneously stilted and fluid.

—Justin Davidson, Newsday



The last of the songs, "How Slow the Wind," paired Golijov with an ideal poet, Emily Dickinson.

Like Dickinson, Golijov doesn't waste. Every word and note was essential.

Upshaw's pure, bright upper register is so distinctive and cherished that when Golijov dove her range down into an earthy chest voice to sing, "Is it too late to touch you, Dear?," it was startling. Maybe he knew that, because he had Upshaw repeat it as a marimba pulsed with an ostinato beneath her line.

He also had her sing higher, word-less vocalizing that burned with radiant light, as the poem paused to reflect on a distant love. The single word "Love" returned, as Upshaw repeated it at higher and higher pitches, reaching to the sun. Bliss.

—Frederick Kaimann, The New Jersey Star-Ledger



...A recent song, 'How Slow the Wind,' for soprano and string quartet, with a text adapted from Emily Dickinson, demonstrated Golijov's increasing ability to find the core of emotional expression in pure music, every transparent gesture beautifully conceived.

Los Angeles Times



A kind of minimalist impressionism pervades the Dickinson song; here, her clear, cool voice wafted like a breeze through the pulsing instrumental parts.

—John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune (soprano and string quartet version)



...a song fashioned from two Emily Dickinson poems; to a memorable ghost-rider accompaniment, the voice moves from melancholy lassitude to ecstatic intensity.

—Richard Dyer, Boston Globe (soprano and string quartet version)