This ambitious and masterly cycle of 14 songs is, as the composer says, operatic in concept; it runs the whole gamut of emotions, portraying the love story of the beautiful girl Radha and the god Krishna of ancient Indian legend. It is a rewarding vehicle for a gifted performer as there is every opportunity to display the widest variety of technique and dramatic colouring and mood, without putting any strain on the voice. The musical idiom is highly individual, richly chromatic and yet not difficult. The warm romanticism mixes with strong Asian influence in a fascinating blend of styles that is most appealing and successful. The composer’s numerous and meticulous instructions are immensely helpful to the performer. Rochberg obviously understands the vocal mechanism extremely well, and, despite the length of the cycle, he succeeds in maintaining tension and interest throughout. Most songs are quite brief, except for the opening song and those towards the end. The performance is quite a marathon for the singer, but it repays every effort and is sure to make a thrilling effect. An extrovert performer will particularly relish the challenge. The fact that the voice pitches are doubled or discreetly cued throughout in the piano part is a tremendous bonus; this eases many of the worst difficulties, except in the case of the last and most demanding song.
KeywordsFatigue Tempo Bitter Outpouring
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