Opperman, Laitman & Rosenblum: Works for Voice & Clarinet

Opperman, Laitman & Rosenblum: Works for Voice & Clarinet

Kristine Hurst

On this album

Album review

“The works on this Naxos release are of various kinds, but they hang together in quite a powerful way. They are, for one thing, conservative in tonality but not in form, engaging with their texts in free, original ways. The songs were mostly for other instruments with voice but work perfectly well on the clarinet. The heart of the matter is that composer Lori Laitman's combination of detailed word-painting with serious subject matter is quite affecting. At the center of the program are two works that deal with the Holocaust, I Never Saw Another Butterfly, setting texts written by children at the Terezin (Theresienstadt) concentration camp, and its sequel, The Secret Exit, on poems by German Jewish writer Nelly Sachs. These draw the listener in with their vivid evocation of the texts and allow their full emotional impact to develop. The other Laitman cycle, Living in the Body, sets texts by popular poet Joyce Sutphen and is less grim, but is cut from the same cloth. The Laitman songs are effectively framed by Kalmen Opperman's somber clarinet solo, Un seul, and the more hopeful Winter Rain, of Diana Rosenblum. The performances by soprano Kristine Hurst-Wajszczuk and clarinetist Denise Gainey are inward and focused, and Naxos' sound, from an auditorium at the University of Alabama-Birmingham far exceeds the usual standard of university venues: it is clear and intimate. This is a fine addition to the repertory of music that takes up the subject of the Holocaust.”

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Record label



    10 July 2020