Osvaldo Golijov Blurs Folk and Art Music

New York City (New York), USA – Osvaldo Golijov’s works bring together elements from Eastern and Western classical influences. The Argentine composer melds them with Mediterranean folklore: the explosive power of his art derives from the fact that he has always used it to reflect his triple exile – from his roots in Eastern Europe, from his Jewish heritage, and now from his native Argentina – as well as his innate political radicalism.

On September 27th, Deutsche Grammophon celebrates its new creative
partnership with Osvaldo Golijov by releasing his song cycle Ayre performed by Three-time Grammy Award-winning soprano Dawn Upshaw, a regular muse
of Golijov’s for whom this work was written. The companion work on this new
recording is Luciano Berio’s seminal song cycle, Folk Songs.

Ayre and Folk Songs

Luciano Berio’s Folk Songs blazed the trail for composers wanting to blur the
distinction between ‘folk” and “art” music. Not all of these eleven pieces are
folk songs in the strict sense of the word: two are by the American composer
John Jacob Niles and two by Berio himself. But the others come from Armenia,
France, Sicily, Sardinia and Italy, and an Azerbaijani love song. Berio’s
scoring evokes a world beyond the concert hall: he uses the viola and cello to
suggest the outdoor clarinet and folk fiddle, and he beefs up the flute and harp
with tambourines and side drums.

Osvaldo Golijov has long felt a kinship with Berio’s music, and Ayre reflects
some of the characteristics of the latter’s Folk Songs. Ayre is scored for an
ensemble similar to Berio’s, but also including the accordion and ronroco (an
Argentinian fretted lute) and the laptop, which Golijov regards as a
21st-century folk instrument. The Klezmer-tinged clarinet solos were inspired by
David Krakauer; two of the songs were written by GRAMMY-winning Latin songwriter
and performer Gustavo Santaollala; one comes from the Arab superstar Fairouz;
and Miles Davis’s

Sketches of Spain
is the inspiration for the final song. Golijov’s
texts are in Arabic, Hebrew, Sardinian, Spanish and Ladino (the lost language of
Spanish Jews); his melodies are a meld of three cultures – Christian, Arab and
Jewish – which coexisted peaceably in the Iberian Peninsula until the late 15th

This recording features the Andalucian Dogs, an ensemble made up of Santaolalla
(on guitar and ronroco), Krakauer, percussionist Jamie Haddad, and others.

Future Deutsche Grammophon recordings of Golijov’s works will include Oceans,
Tenebrae, Last Round, Three Songs and the one-act opera Ainadamar (Fountain of

Upcoming Performances Of Ayre:

10/20/05 8:00 PM Copley Hall, San Diego, CA
10/21/05 8:00 PM Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, CA
10/23/05 2:30 PM Dinkelspiel Memorial Auditorium, Palo Alto, CA
10/25/05 8:00 PM Mondavi Center, Davis, CA
10/27/05 8:00 PM Hancher Auditorium, Iowa City. IA
10/29/05 8:00 PM Leighton Concert Hall, De Bartolo Center South Bend, IN
10/30/05 8:00 PM Severance Hall (TBC), Cleveland, OH
2/4/06 8:00 PM Rose Theater – Time Warner Center, New York, NY