Monday, July 21, 2008

Osvaldo Olijov, Oceana

Osvaldo Olijov's Oceana has been on my shelf for a few weeks now and I have listened to it more than most new recordings in my collection. The CD features superb performances by Dawn Upshaw and Kronos Quartet among many others. Especially noteworthy is the voice of Brazilian bossa nova singer, Luciana Souza, whose pliant phrasing is featured prominently in the disc's title composition. Throughout the recording, Olijov's music juxtaposes elements of folk musics from both South America and the Middle East in ways that are surprisingly effective. The rhythmic precision of the choral singing in Oceana's fifth movement, "Third Wave," teems with life and stirs me deeply. The recording also includes an achingly poignant, Tenebrae, in two movements played by Kronos Quartet and then a set of three songs performed by Dawn Upshaw.

I must confess that Olijov's music is new to me and that I have just begun to immerse myself into his sound. His web page is here and through it you can hear a broad sampling of his work. In the liner notes to the Oceana disc, Olijov says that he never wants the diverse materials that he weaves together to be heard as merely "eclectic," but rather as an authentic voice that flows out of his own personal journey. Throughout, Olijov's music is finely crafted and quite clear in its communicative intent. This is a quality that seems increasingly rare in the world of post-minimalist new music.


quinnjf said...

Intriguing post, Paul! Now I'm curious about this music. --I think I've found the composer's webpage here - . He links to "Oceana" here - .


Frank Quinn, Ryan Library

Paul Kenyon said...

Aren't librarians fantastic! Thank you Frank for finding this link. My efforts with Google were apparently far too amateurish to find the Golijov home page, but yes the link is indeed: