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ClassicsOnline Home » MAZZOLI, M.: Song From the Uproar [Opera] (Osgood)
Missy Mazzoli /Now Ensemble/Songs from the Uproar/New Amsterdam
Missy Mazzoli, yet another gem composer out of New Amsterdam, has penned a fascinating work, Songs for the Uproar. The piece is basically a through-composed, 75-minute work, consisting of fifteen songs based on the writings of Isabelle Eberhardt. The greatness of the work is it feels like a long journey, probably because there is a lot of gorgeous transition material that is at once melancholic and beautiful. The songs themselves loom on the horizon, in the distance, as if emerging from a fog. The closer one gets the more the shapes and contours come into focus. Then suddenly they are behind us, another event in our life, and we bath in the reflective sadness of another transition. Further deepening one’s experience, there is stillness and lots of breathing in the writing, which makes it all very life-like and believable.
The songs themselves are lyrical and accessible often having a Sondheimish eloquence and asymmetry. In general there is a music theatre/broadway influence
but it fades in to distance balanced by the weighty transitions. Reich and post-minimalists also are there but the music is so heartfelt, it really is not a criticism.
The last part of the piece takes on a kind of Wagneresque gravitas, which is pretty trilling as it doesn’t sound like Wagner at all. Long chorale-like sustains in the vocals give in a grave, religious quality while the orchestration around it is transcendent.
The Now Ensemble was great, nary a clam. I’m less enthused about the singing (strident vibrato-but that’s just me)—also I felt the singers were sometimes a little under in the mix.
All in all, great piece showing the hand of a very skilled, confident composer.more....
By Daniel Stephen Johnson
WQXR (New York)
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MAZZOLI, M.: Song From the Uproar [Opera] (Osgood)