Youth Without Youth

Youth Without Youth (2007)

While Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov has become the darling of classical venues over the world with the evening-length works Ainadamar and La Pasión según San Marcos, this rich score clearly indicates that he’s also going to give Philip Glass a run for his money in the classy-soundtrack department. For starters, Youth Without Youth offers a lot more variety than Glass usually comes up with. Since Francis Ford Coppola's movie is based on a novella by Romania's Mircea Eliade and is set in the 1930s, Golijov superbly suggests a moody, mysterious, highly dramatic Mitteleuropa--at times you feel like you're listening to a classic Hollywood score from the 1940s or 1950s, as if Max Steiner had hooked up with some gypsies. (Weirdly, "Malta," co-written with Arturo Castro, also brings to mind "Maybe This Time" from Cabaret.) Crucial to Golijov's sonic palette here are the dulcimer-like cimbalom (played by Kálmán Balogh) and the fiddle-like kamänche (played by Kayhan Kalhor). Balogh and Michael Ward-Bergeman, on accordion, face off fiercely on "Refugee," for instance. A couple of crackly songs, "O Alba Tigareta Parfumata" and "Noapte Buna Mimi," round off the CD, as if emerging from a jukebox lost in the rubble of old Bucharest.

— Elisabeth Vincentelli


Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Chicago
April 7, 2008
Premier Performance
by Kalman Balogh, cimbalom, Kayhan Kalhor, kemancheh, Michael Ward Bergeman, accordion, Members of the Chicago Symphony and Brad Lubman, conductor
Joe Fitzgerald