ABCD 320 HÄMEENNEMI: Red Earth & Pouring Rain; The Bird & the Wind
Bombay Jayashri, voice; Laura Leisma, s; Minna Pensola, v; Avanti / John Storgards
"Bombay Jayashri is a leading singer of Indian classical Carnatic music. Red Earth and Pouring Rain (2008) was written for her, and she sings it here. These five songs with texts by Indian poets are about love, loss, and revelation. [...] Anyone interested in sensational vocal acrobatics must hear this. Ms Jayashri has a truly beautiful voice to start with, and she deploys it with flawless musicality and staggering virtuosity. This is an amazing example of ethnic bel canto wedded to Western orchestration and European art music-an unqualified triumph for all involved.
The Bird and the Wind (1994) is an earlier song cycle also with Indian characteristics. This one alternates Finnish folk poetry with Indian texts (sung in Finnish!), with substantial symphonic dance movements set in between the five continuous sections. [...] Ms Leisma handles the challenging voice part with security.
This was a nice surprise from a composer barely known in this country. Mark Lehman reviewed his Third Symphony and Viola Concerto (Alba 214, M/A 2007) and was less than pleased. The opening piece on this program might help clarify the "ersatz ‘Oriental' embellishments" Mark objected to in the earlier release."
GIMBEL / American Record Guide March/April 2012
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