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05 May

New York Times Review

In News by Kristin Kuster / May 5, 2006 / 0 Comments


Kristin Kuster’s Myrrha (2006), for orchestra and chamber chorus (the ACO singers) drew on Ovid’s story of a woman who lusted after her father (the result of being cursed by Aphrodite) and was transformed by the gods into a tree. Stravinsky’s shadow is caught hovering over more than a few passages, both in savage, bright-edged chords in the “Sacre” style, and in the ritualistic accent he used in works like “Oedipus Rex.” But Ms. Kuster’s choral writing has an invitingly tart edge, and she writes commandingly for the orchestra.

Allan Kozinn, New York Times, 5 May 2006

04 May

Night After Night Review

In News by Kristin Kuster / May 4, 2006 / 0 Comments


Kristin Kuster’s Myrrha, a setting of texts from Ovid for three amplified sopranos, male chorus and orchestra, unquestionably demonstrated the composer’s expertise in crafting unique timbres. Here, my hesitancy to declare full apprehension had more to do with the specific ways in which she set her texts. The rippling harp and luscious bass clarinet figures behind the word “noctis” (“night”) seemed fitting, as did the resounding booms that punctuated the repeated appearances of “Me miseram” (“I am wretched”). The sopranos bent their notes like a folk choir under succulent lines translated as, “The golden moon flies from the heavens, and black clouds cover the hiding stars, and Night has not lost her fires.” But the burbling conga drum and rhumba intimations that percolated behind the lyric in which Myrrha is transformed into a tree gave me pause — while incidentally making me think of similarly jarring juxtapositions of word and sound in Osvaldo Golijov’s works — and the rhythmic ferocity with which Kuster set lines that described bent branches and falling tears were disorienting in much the same way. Still, even at 15 minutes in length, this felt like a piece one might fruitfully spend much more time getting to know. And despite my seeming ambivalence, I will add that in the end, Kuster’s compositional ingenuity outweighed my questions with regard to its deployment. Judith Clurman’s well-drilled chorus did outstanding work, and the piece received a rousing response, well deserved.

Steve Smith, Night After Night, 5 May 2006

02 May

Sequenza 21 News & Reviews

In News by Kristin Kuster / May 2, 2006 / 0 Comments

Also I attended the ACO concert last night at Carnegie… The unquestionable highlight of the evening, however, was Kristin Kuster’s Myrrha, a lush and visceral work for orchestra and amplified voices based on Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Let’s hope it finds its way to recording-dom soon.

David Salvage, Sequenza 21 News & Reviews, 6 May 2006