Magazine article Gramophone

Dvorak * Sokolovic: 'New Worlds'

Magazine article Gramophone

Dvorak * Sokolovic: 'New Worlds'

Article excerpt

Dvorak Sokolovic

'New Worlds'

Dvorak Symphony No 9, 'From the New World', Op 95 B178 Sokolovic Golden slumbers kiss your eyes ... (a)

(a) David DQ Lee munterten aCantata Singers of Ottawa; (a) Capital Chamber Choir; (a) Ewashko Singers; Canada's National Arts Centre Orchestra I Alexander Shelley

Analekta (F) AN2 8873 (71' * DDD)

Themes of migration, border crossing and leaving old worlds behind while anticipating new worlds up ahead bind the two seemingly disparate works on this disc. Serbian-born, Montreal-based Ana Sokolovic's Golden slumbers kiss your eyes ... for combined choirs, countertenor soloist and orchestra consists of seven uninterrupted movements set to texts in six languages drawn from folk poetry. The first piece features a vocal line energised by fervent incantation supported by slow, steadily repeating F naturals in the bass, sudden melodic stabs and sustained clusters, cumulating in a shattering, slowly building choral climax. The title-movement follows, highlighted by haunting interaction between the singer and a solo violinist, plus floating wordless choral passages against billowy clouds of chords.

For my taste, the use of antiphonal 'speech singing' throughout No 3 seems tacky and cliched, but not the movement's rhythmic ingenuity. On the other hand, No 4's sultry tarantella features delightful countertenor melismas, in contrast to the following movement's desolate introspection. …

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