April 27, 2005


Osvaldo Golijov's star continues to rise: He's an Eastern European-Argentinean-American Jew who mixes Klezmer and tango with classical styles — and is taking the music world by storm (Paul Horsley, 4/27/05, JewishWorldReview.com)

An Eastern European-Argentinean-American Jew who mixed Klezmer and tango with classical styles? Come on.

But Osvaldo Golijov was "their" composer, and they waited expectantly for the piece. And waited.

Finally the composition arrived in dribs and drabs. As they played it, anxiety turned to despair. They could make no sense of it.

"It was hate at first sight," the 44-year-old Golijov said recently with a laugh. "I was late with the piece, they were totally distrustful, there was a lot of tension."

The Argentinean-born composer recalled the moment recently from his adopted home of Boston, where he teaches at Holy Cross and Boston Conservatory.

The quartet panicked.

"Suddenly you get this piece that, for us, an inexperienced group, looked like cacophony on the page," said St. Lawrence second violinist Barry Schiffman. "Plus there was more of it coming in all the time. I was a little hostile at first."

The decisive moment in the development of "Yiddishbbuk" came when Golijov arrived in Tanglewood and attended the quartet's rehearsal.

"After you speak to Osvaldo for a few minutes, you're his friend," Schiffman said. By the end of the rehearsal, he said, all was forgiven.

"One of us asked him, 'Ozzie can you sing it?'" Schiffman said. "What he's written, you have to know, is impossible to sing. But as he sang, he became transformed, he was in another world."

The musicians were in awe, he said, "not just of how beautiful the music was, but of how convinced he was of his compositional voice. We were humbled."

And his best work is a Passion.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 27, 2005 6:52 AM
Comments for this post are closed.