Return of the missing Golijov

Return of the missing Golijov


norman lebrecht

November 05, 2020

The New York Times is publishing a weekend piece on the composer Osvaldo Golijov, one of the most sought-after fusionists of the early 21st century until he started missing deadlines and had to return one commission after another.

For the last ten years he has been silent. ‘I was depressed,’ he says.

Suddenly, he’s back.

Read here.


  • Jean says:

    My god. I nearly forgot this composer existed….

  • An expressive composer. We are glad he is back.

  • EMore says:

    Well, I guess this is one good thing to come out of 2020!
    I was at the premier of ‘Falling Out of Time’ last October (it was fantastic) and I am thrilled to hear that Mr. Golijov is back at it again!

  • John Borstlap says:

    It’s music which throws very different folky traditions together, cleverly realized.

    Here is a bit from his St Mark Passion, which was such a success:

    It has not much to do with carefully worked-out art music, be it classical music or ‘modern music’, and it is rather superficial, with the pop snippets sprinkled over the surface, but who would complain? It is very musical and colourful and leaves the narrow, suicidal modernist mind set behind.

    His story of depression shows how alienating music life can be for a real talent.

    • Musician says:

      Mr. Borstlap, I hope you realize just how many commissions and performances you lose by asinine and snide comments like these on this site.

      • John Borstlap says:

        Why so angry? I merely made some obvious observations, and am in sympathy with Mr Golijov’s work. My opinions have found quite some sympathy generally, so why should I self-censor?

        The point is: do we look at music from the context of classical music as a genre, as a tradition, or from a viewpoint outside that context? Or, from the context of the usual ‘modern music’ as presented in concert life? And then: presented in concerts within the classical music world or within the circuit of ‘avantgarde music’, like the Donaueschingen festival, or the Darmstadt exercises? As you see, any judgment of music depends upon context. I’m sure that from a context of pop music, Golijov’s music is very intellectual, as it is schandalously banal from a modernist point of view.

        From a Darmstadt perspective, Golijov is lightyears ahead in terms of progress as improvement:

    • NotToneDeaf says:

      Absolutely shocking that a composer would speak about one of his troubled colleagues in such a rude way. Your rampant jealousy could not be more obvious.

      • John Borstlap says:

        I know, it is very difficult to carefully read what is written down. Your rampant ignorance and illiteracy could not be more obvious.

        • NotToneDeaf says:

          Anyone spelling “scandalously” with an aitch is in a poor position to lecture about illiteracy. And since “illiteracy” refers to the inability to read and write, you clearly need a dictionary as well.

  • M2N2K says:

    Coincidentally or not, practically on that same day LA Times published Mark Swed’s article about Osvaldo Golijov and his “Ayre”.

  • Sir David Geffen-Hall says:

    Glad he is back. One of the great contemporary composers of our time. His music, which appeals to a large audience, will be what helps to save Classical music when things return to normal.

    • John says:

      But is it classical music? I don’t think so.

      It is the folky and the pop elements that appeal to a ‘wide audience’: people with only pop music in their ears, get something to hold on while listening. Nothing wrong with it, but ‘classical’?

      What will help save classical music as a genre is the disappearing of the nonsense and vanity exercises, and the idea that it is not a business but a value in itself, for the common good. Poppy and folky things are something for people unaccustomed to classical music. But then, Golijov is much better than, say, Einaudi or Sondheim.

  • M2N2K says:

    About 15 or so years ago, I had the pleasure of performing his “The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind” with four of my colleagues, and Osvaldo Golijov came to hear it. He was most gracious and engaging with all of us. It was a delight to play that very attractive piece, as well as to celebrate after our performance with this most charming composer.

  • NotToneDeaf says:

    A wonderful composer and an equally wonderful person.