Kamēr... at the Baryshnikov Arts Center
The New York Times, March 19, 2011
My thanks to Whit Bernard -- director of development for the International Contemporary Ensemble and provocative blogger at Dolce and Gomorrah -- for indirectly tipping me off about this sensational Latvian youth choir. (Longtime readers will remember that Whit's been cited here before.) I'm very happy to have had a chance to hear these wonderful young singers perform -- and I loved the Joshua Bright photograph that ran with my review so much that I had to borrow it.
I truly wish I could have seen the second concert Kamēr... presented, at the Park Avenue Christian Church on Saturday night -- they really were that good. Of their many recordings, evidently only one is readily available here: Dawn Is Breaking, a lovely collection issued in 2009 on the Quartz label. At the concert I was provided with three more, each beautifully recorded and packaged.
Some smart American indie should think about picking these records up for distribution or licensing them outright, especially World Sun Songs, a lavishly packaged 2-CD set that includes works composed for Kamēr... by an international lineup of composers, including John Luther Adams, Giya Kancheli, John Tavener, Pēteris Vasks, Sven-David Sandström and Alberto Grau.
For a taste of what this remarkable choir can do, lend an ear to "A Drop in the Ocean," the most fascinating of the four works by Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds included in the Baryshnikov program.
Paul Simon - So Beautiful or So What (Hear Music; due April 12)
Anthony Braxton - Septet (Pittburgh) 2008 & Sextet (Philadelphia) 2005 (New Braxton House)
Jean Sibelius - String Quartet in D minor ("Voces Intimae"); Arnold Schoenberg - String Quartet No. 1 in D minor - Tetzlaff Quartet (Cavi-Music)
Tim Berne - Insomnia (Clean Feed)
Edwyn Collins - Losing Sleep (Downtown)
Dickie Landry - Fifteen Saxophones (Unseen Worlds)
Reformed Faction - Until (Greytone)
Morton Feldman - Neither - Petra Hoffmann, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra/Kwamé Ryan (Col Legno)
Build - Place (New Amsterdam)
Rhys Chatham - Outdoor Spell (Northern Spy)
Sleater-Kinney - Dig Me Out (Kill Rock Stars)
YOB - The Great Cessation (Profound Lore)
Black Flag - Everything Went Black (SST)
Anton Bruckner - Symphony No. 8 - Hallé Orchestra/John Barbirolli (BBC Legends)
Emmylou Harris - Hard Bargain (Nonesuch; due April 26)
Shackleton - Fireworks (Honest Jon's)
Ted Nugent - Double Live Gonzo (Epic)
Nasum - Helvete (Relapse)
Peter Gordon and Love of Life Orchestra - Love of Life Orchestra (DFA)
Etta Jones and Houston Person - The Way We Were (High Note; due April 26)
Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band - Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) (Virgin)
Rand Steiger - Dreamscape - Mosaic; Traversing - Matthew Barley, Southbank Sinfonia/Peter Wiegold; Nested Etudes - Karisa Werdon; Ecosphere - Olivier Pasquet, Ensemble Intercontemporain/Patrick Davin (EMF)
David Tudor - RainForest (Mode)
Dmitri Shostakovich - Symphony No. 1; Symphony No. 3 ("The First of May") - Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra/Vasily Petrenko (Naxos)
:Zoviet*France: - Gris (No Man's Land)