Welcome news: Golijov is unblockedmain
In the early years of the 21st century, the US-based Argentine composer was one of the hottest properties in contemporary music, producing multi-ethnic confections that suited the spirit of the times.
Then he hit a brick wall. Premieres of a song cycle, a string quartet and a violin concerto all had to be cancelled when the composer failed to deliver a score. That was four years ago. Since then, nothing.
Until this weekend, when Sign of the Leviathan, described by Steve Smith as ‘a melancholy 12-minute work for solo French horn and string orchestra’, had its premiere at Tanglewood. Read Steve’s review here.
Are critics earning their money when all they tell us about a new work is that it is in 6/8, has some wave sounds, and is moody?
I believe Mr. Smith’s calling it a “qualified success” to be too generous. One can hear more interesting string writing in any number of film scores. And the horn part had the soloist reaching into the stratosphere for notes that often didn’t produce. A disappointment to these ears, let’s hope the Met commission is more promising.
No disrespect to Steve – whom I respect as a writer – but I find Norman’s summation of Golijov’s recent career more compelling than the article linked here. Those accusations of plagiarism against Golijov stuck for a while, but good to hear he’s moving beyond them.
When young composers have, against all expectations, suddenly success and receive commissions, pressures rise as inspiration wavers.
Another review of the same performance by Steve Ledbetter, former Boston Symphony program editor: http://www.classical-scene.com/2015/07/16/tmco-leviathan/
Golijov has been around for awhile everyone borrows elements of music from one another. What is bothersome about him is that he can’t meet deadlines to write pieces he commissioned which asks the question is he real or a fraud