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Golijov / Berio: Folksongs CD

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Performer: Dawn Upshaw, The Andalucian Dogs
  • Composer: Osvaldo Golijov, Luciano Berio
  • Audio CD (23 Jan. 2006)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B000ASDG9E
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 86,933 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

UPSHAW DAWN / THE ANDALUCIAN D

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Ayre is an extraordinary mix of musical style, culture and language. Golijov's achievement (aided by his background as a Jewish Argentinian of East European origin who has studied in Jerusalem, Spain and the US) is in showing us how much divided cultures have in common. A Sephardic lullaby, a Palestinian poem, a Christian Arab hymn - this is a real musical and cultural exploration. I suggest a free copy for anyone involved in peace negotiations in the Middle East.

Dawn Upshaw is magnificent.

The only downside is that Breio's Folk Songs seem tame in comparison.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This disc has two parts. The first is the Golijov's excellent sefaradin songs. After you have the great selection of Berio`s folk songs. After all, like all Golijov`s compositions, you have the pleasure of contemporary best music.
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This isn't your run of the mill classical recording. It is much more like a world music cd but scored and performed by classical musicians. Dawn Upshaw manages to sound so different on each track. Like another reviewer I had to check she was the only singer. The whole ensemble is put to use creating different sound worlds for each song. The only thing I have heard that is quite as surprising as this is Henze's Voices.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9c4e4378) out of 5 stars 19 reviews
50 of 58 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c2a1eb8) out of 5 stars Creative Magic Courtesy Golijov, Berio, Upshaw and Andalucian Dogs! 28 Sept. 2005
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
In what must be the most intriguing and creative recording yet this year, AYRE, a work for soprano and instrumentalists by Osvaldo Golijov, is a winner. Dawn Upshaw and a fascinating instrumental group called the Andalucian Dogs perform this amalgam of musical ideas of Christian, Arab, and Sephardic Jewish cultures in Spain with traditional instruments, tribal, Klezmer, jazz, and unclassifiable types of compositions by the ever creative Golijov. The work is peppery, moody, lusty and a total joy to hear.

Translations of some of the titles of the individual songs include 'A mother roasted her child', 'Until you return', 'My eyes weep', 'Be a string, water, to my guitar', 'Ariadne in her labyrinth' and the breathtaking 'Oh where shall I find you' in which Upshaw offers otherworldly primal chanting, speaking, and singing. Golijov writes vividly for the harp, percussion, strings and wind instruments, weaving the voice as not only a communicator of the poetry but as an integral part of the instrumental sound. This is an extraordinary composition and one that Dawn Upshaw (this time with the eighth blackbird ensemble) will tour the country. If you are near a performance, don't miss it. Meanwhile the recording is so superb that it seems bound for Grammy awards.

Rounding out this CD are the Folksongs by Luciano Berio (written for his wife Cathy Berberian who also recorded them) as sung by the incredibly gifted Dawn Upshaw. The songs (ten in number) are from the US, France, Italy, Sardinia, Auvergne - France, Sicily, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. And yes, Upshaw sings each in native tongue! The settings are minimally orchestrated for maximum effect and the performances are gently magnificent. This is a CD that deserves the attention of all types of music lovers. And it serves even more notice of the genius that is Osvaldo Golijov. Highly Recommended! Grady Harp, September 05
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c2a5324) out of 5 stars Exotic cultural crossover at its most tuneful 31 Oct. 2005
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Oswaldo Golijov wrote his 2004 song cycle, Ayre, as a mirror of the Berio song cycle, Folk Songs, from 1964. Both are easy listening in a somewhat updated modernist vein. Dawn Upshaw sings in at least seven languages, inclduing the lost language of Sephardic Jews from southern Spain. Golijov asks her to imitate the melismatic style of Arab vocalism, but with many twists and turns into other styles, Christian and Jewish. His cycle is the more adventurous in form, gliding seamlessly from spoken word to song, sometimes wordless vocalise, sometimes set to modern or ancient poetry. The texts are very obscure, and a listener can easily ignore the words and enjoy Ayre as a tour de force of pure singing centered on gorgeous, exotically perfumed melody.

The infectious Berio cycle is more conventional, in that one song follows another with a clear separation and mostly easy tunes. Some of the songs are as familiar as "Black is the color of my true love's hair" and "I wonder as I wander," and for these Berio has devised clever, engaging chamber accompaniments, atlthough these often wander independently of the tune. Things get wilder with items like the yowled Sicilian ballad, "Femminisca," with its clanging percussive accompaniment. Upshaw is asked to adapt her voice to conflicting vocal styles here, too.

I won't go so far as to call it dated, but the Berio is less coherent and stylistically unified than the Golijov cycle. Its diverse singing styles are a savory mish-mash, while Ayre, which is firmly centered in Spanish medieval folk singing, feels more satisfying as it rises and falls in mood.

Overall, this CD is tuneful and simple enough that it could catch on as pop or world music. Golijo clearly has found a niche for himself, and his talent at vocal settings and exotic atmosphere is driving his fast-rising career qquite successfully.
85 of 110 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ccc4060) out of 5 stars A marketing triumph 26 Feb. 2006
By MartinP - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Witness the awesome power of marketing! Golijov is hailed as all but the 21st century Mozart; even the venerable Gramophone Magazine has joined the chorus of praise: "intoxicating", "endlessly haunting", unforgettably beautiful". So before you've thought twice you'll have bought this disc, and what do you end up with? I'll put it briefly: a facile hotchpotch of improvisatory, crowd-pleasing cross-over, with the staying power of any glittering soap bubble. Ayre is entertaining enough, no doubt about that. It is expertly played and seductively sung, quirky enough to give the superficial impression of modernity, but without ever truly challenging the listener on any level, or offering anything essentially new. The problem is that Golijov presents us with a series of elaborations on Klezmer, Arabic and Mediterranean folk music for which far more enticing alternatives are available from artists closer to the original sources. Try Rabih Abou-Khalil for truly unforgettable adaptations of Arabic music, for instance. And though Golijov's multinational cocktail does not include Scandinavia, those who like Ayre are bound to be blown away by the songs of Sami artist Mari Boine, that in my view operate on rather deeper levels of profundity. And for exotic vocal effects, check out Toby Twining.

Ayre is no match either for the cycle of Berio Folksongs that inspired it - the Berio work is far more coherent and simply has more substance as a work of art. Upshaw's version of it is undeniably committed, but does not erase memories of the phenomenal reading by Jard van Nes and musicians from the Concertgebouw Orkest (Decca). While Upshaw tends to sentimentalize the slow songs, and adapts a deliberately rough-edged, folksy voice for the others, Van Nes staunchly approaches the cycle from the classical tradition, which results in a reading of hieratic power and intense beauty. Next to her ecstatic 'Azerbedijan LOvesong' Upshaw sounds positively soporific. Which in my view leaves little reason to invest in this disc.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c41d708) out of 5 stars Give it a try! 18 Feb. 2006
By The curious musician - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Someone said that people who say "I know what I like" actually mean "I like what I know". This disc is a tremendous ear opener and brings to our attention the golden era of Al Andalus in 14th century Spain when great philosophers and musicians of three cultures, christian, jewish and muslim lived and worked in relative harmony. Let's face it, the price of the disc is negligible for a cultural experience of this kind. I'm delighted to have it.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c2977f8) out of 5 stars Fascinating, uneven album 7 Dec. 2005
By Sailor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I have to give it to Dawn Upshaw, she really has courage to do something interesting with her voice. She sings such incredible passages here, vocalising strange notes, not just singing, it's like performance art with her voice. Actually she has a lovely speaking voice too, like when she reads the "O God, where shall I find you?" poem in the third track, before launching into Ophra Haza wail...
But this music is so strange. There were some moments I really loved it, but in many places it was too much and just too bizarre. And the two parts on not on the same level, the Ayre cycle is much better and more interesting overall, Berio cycle sounds little dull, probably by comparison too. The one song that may be familiar to some people, "Black is the Color" is the only one I have heard before, and I like Upshawn's version a lot.
I think if someone is prepared for the radical, original style of this album, they might end up really loving this music. For anybody who likes very conventional music, or expects this soprano to sing standard repertoire, it could be unnerving experience. But his album is really worth hearing just for Upshawn's incredible singing. She is a great artist, she likes to take risks and she does not disappoint here.
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