Osvaldo Golijov
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Tenebrae (2002): Reviews
   [Notes] · [Reviews]
 
The impact of "Tenebrae" was powerful and immediate. The Dock Street audience sat in something like awe at the beauty of the piece, and quite a few people were actually weeping. When it ended, the whole crowd leaped up in a spontaneous standing ovation.

—Robert Jones, Post and Courier



...The main interest was Osvaldo Golijov's 'Tenebrae,' which Mr. Wadsworth had commissioned for the Spoleto Festival U.S.A., where it received its premiere in June, performed by the same musicians who gave the New York premiere here: Ms. Budd, the clarinetist Todd Palmer and the St. Lawrence Quartet.

Speaking before the performance, Mr. Golijov said that on the surface of this hushed and meditative 12-minute work very little seems to be happening, but that if it is listened to "from the inside," it is restlessly active. The vocal line is just a series of melismatic elongations of syllables from the Hebrew alphabet. Choralelike passages in the strings keep breaking down into quietly fidgety arpeggios and rustling motives that create gentle rhythmic riffs and beguiling colors.

—Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times



...With the unusually tranquil score, the 41-year-old Golijov confirms his status as one of today's most gifted and appearling composers... "it's about pain," Golijov said during rehearsals of Tenebrae, "but pain seen from inside and from a distance." Yet in this score Golijov transcends lament to offer consolation, a prayer for peace that quite literally passes beyond understanding. The work, in a single slow movement, is elegiac but now sorrowful. Palmer's gentle clarinet blended perfectly with the strings and Budd's angelic soprano (delivering one celestial high C after another) to achieve a tranquility that mesmerized the audience.

—Wes Blomster, Andante.com