Download of the Week: Osvaldo Golijov

Can music be too beautiful?

I first sampled Azul, Golijov's stunning cello concerto written in 2006, via Tidal, in all its MQA'd glory. But I did not have time to listen, let alone time to listen to its 28+ minutes at the time. That was just a week or so ago. More recently, I was driving and tuned into Azul damn-near the beginning coming over the airwaves courtesy of WPRB (I love college radio). As I was driving, I was thinking; Can music be too beautiful?

The Knights chamber orchestra are joined by People Magazine's 2001 "Sexiest Classical Musician" who also happens to play cello, Yo-Yo Ma. Together, they breath life into Azul and in so doing, offer up a spiritually uplifting experience. Think joy.

Hyper-accordion, played by Michael Ward-Bergeman who created it, "ethnic" percussion, and references to music outside the Western canon, OK depending on your point of view, all add up to exactly what my mind, body, and soul yearned for. Although I didn't know it until I heard Azul.

You may feel the same way, or differently, but the heartstrings being tugged strike me as more universal than just mine. Azul sits between other works from Siamak Aghael, Dvorák, Stockhausen, and (get ready for it) Sufjan Stevens on this recently released recording from Warner Classics. I'm perfectly content with just Golijov.

Azul is available on Tidal Masters and/or HDtracks.

Bonus Beauty
More happy accident music came my way on the highway and it fits so well here that I cannot help but include it. Lou Harrison's Seven Pastorales is Spring incarnate (if you love Spring the way I do).

Available from Tidal (focus on the "Pastorales" first).

BradleyP's picture

Hi Michael -- In response to your question about the possibility of music being too beautiful, the answer is, "No, that's impossible." I assert that if the thought of excessive beauty crosses one's mind, then the composer (or musician) was trying too hard and ended up being syrupy, which is less beautiful because it's no longer genuine. There's a built-in fail safe mechanism. That said, Azul pushes it to the limit. Great recommendation!

DH's picture

thanks or that.

achristilaw's picture

The bumps of life sometimes won't let beauty and grace enter. Doesn't mean that we not allot the time and keep trying. I don't do any social media so I share time with real folks and a good cognac. Music always either sets or maintains a mood, in this it never fails.