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Andrew Druckenbrod
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 2006

The howling of desperate wolves opens Leonardo Balada's "No-res," or "Nothing," a bleak cantata about death from 1974. Using text (by French writer Jean Paris) from several languages, tapes of animals, smashing glass and uprooted trees, the work's harrowing look at death would make a worthy Halloween counterpart to Handel's "Messiah." Its impetus and immediacy stem from the death of the CMU composer's mother. First lamenting it, then protesting it, the chorus jabs and punches as much as sings, the narrator (Denis Rafter) speaks with awful hardness, and the orchestra (led by Jose Ramon Encinar) thrashes about -- all harrowing and even touching.





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