Dammit, I really enjoyed this new release.
The Drowning Shore is a 14-minute monodrama that incorporates Sholem Asch’s classic 1907 play God of Vengeance, and its contrasting themes of written holy Hebrew and everyday Yiddish vernacular, with an original Scots-English text. Scored for ‘a mezzo-soprano in a screen’, the piece is performed by Asch’s great-great-granddaughter Clara Kanter, and devised in conjunction with her father David Mazower, Editorial Director at The Yiddish Book Centre (and Asch’s great-grandson). The piece was commissioned by Compass Presents as part of Oracles in Sepia, a series of artists’ attempts to read the present through the past.
Scottish composer-librettist Alastair White explains, “in recent years, God of Vengeance’s dichotomy between written and spoken language has been turned on its head. The internet – a living, breathing text – seems to grow at the same rate as our concerns with other virtual lines – most cruelly, the national borders that claim so many lives. The post-Covid digitalisation of work and performance has both accelerated this process, and, through that rapidity, thrown it into an uncanny new light. Are we horrified, or bored – that we now exist purely as avatars, in pools of watery light, like ghosts, or flowers pressed between glass panes?”