From the incandescent performance of Osvaldo Golijov’s Ayre last month in Ojai, featuring Dawn Upshaw and Gustavo Santaolalla.
(Contemporary classical music has at last shaken off the 20th-century pretention that atonality is progress. Noise-shy audiences are slow to realize this, unfortunately, but with the possible exception of some of Lou Harrison’s work, I can’t think of a better piece to bring them back than Golijov’s astonishing Sephardic/Christian/Arab/Argentinian epic. (Check out these reviews.)
I had the chance to talk briefly to one of my new musical heroes, Santaolalla, at the Ojai fest. Besides being ridiculously talented and prolific–as a writer, a producer, and a musician–he’s a complete charmer. I asked him if there was anything he couldn’t play. (Because on his superb instrumental Ronroco album, the list seems endless.)
"Anything with strings," he shrugged. Check out the lovely album, and you too will believe it.