Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra: Horizon 7
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Label: RCO Live
Cat No: RCO16003
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: 10th June 2016
WorksDream of the Song
fuoco e fumo
ArtistsBejun Mehta (countertenor)
Dominic Seldis (double bass)
The programme opens with a beguiling 20-minute work for countertenor, women’s voices and orchestra, Dream of the Song, Benjamin’s first work since his ground-breaking opera Written on Skin, was premiered in September at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw by the countertenor Bejun Mehta, the ladies of the Netherlands Chamber Choir and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by its composer. The work sets verse by three major poets who spent formative years in Granada; two Hebrew poets of mid-11th century, Samuel HaNagid and Solomon Ibn Gabirol (sung by solo countertenor in English versions by Peter Cole), and Gabriel Garcia Lorca (sung by the female chorus in the original Spanish). Commissioned by the Royal Concertgebouw, BBC and Boston Symphony Orchestras and the Festival d’Automne, the work received its UK premiere on 18 March with Iestyn Davies, the BBC Singers and BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Oliver Knussen.
"Dream of the Song proved to be perfectly structured music of great beauty, fleet-footed and profound, varied and thoughtful... From the virtuosically poetical opening song to the concluding ode to daybreak, the fluid melodic lines fitted Mehta's bronzed voice like a glove. Benjamin possesses a passionate, almost fanatical, gift for tone colour… The reduced orchestra sounds mysterious and silvery, with an occasional well-placed punch from the horns or a plaintive oboe melody. The interaction between voice, choir and instruments was reminiscent of the game of sunlight on water, with fish just below the surface: sometimes you know exactly what you heard, and then the sounds subtly and inimitably flowed together again." - NRC Handelsblad (Joe Stack), 28 September 2015
Recorded live at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, on 17-18 January 2013 (Lindberg), 29-30 January 2015 (Tan Dun), 12 June 2015 (Rijnvos), 25-26 September 2015 (Benjamin)
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