Osvaldo Golijov
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Three Songs for Soprano and Orchestra (2002): Reviews
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...Upshaw performed three songs Osvaldo Golijov wrote for her on three different occasions in three languages and brought together, with new orchestrations, for the Minnesota Orchestra a year ago. The songs are intimate, intense, and haunting, expertly crafted for voice and instruments, and the emotionally overwhelming Emily Dickinson song ends quietly and on a low note. Upshaw sang, as always, with her whole being.

—Richard Dyer, The Boston Globe



If there's an aural equivalent to the magical realism of author Gabriel García Márquez, it may be the music of the 44-year-old Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov. Three Golijov songs certainly set the air aquiver — and had the audience rapt.

—Scott Cantrell, Dallas Morning News



...Two were written for her 'rainbow of a voice,' Golijov said in a program note, hoping to give Upshaw "quietly radiant" music that aspired to Schubert. He did. 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.

Upshaw has sung Golijov's music for years, seeming to recognize his distinct musical personality. He's paid her back here.

Upshaw's first Golijov song, "Night of the Flying Horses," was a lullaby originally written for the 2000 Sally Potter film 'The Man Who Cried' to Potter's original poem. The verse was translated into Yiddish and accompanied by pizzicato violins and the bent melodies of a klezmer clarinet. After riveting performances like this, if I were Upshaw's child, bedtime would last forever. I'd never sleep, begging for just one more lullaby.

—Frederick Kaimann, The New Jersey Star-Ledger