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Colin Clarke
Fanfare, September 2016

A most stimulating release, …The two pieces are excellently matched. Both exude a sense of questioning what was and what might have been. Performances and recording are of the highest standard. Recommended. © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review

Joshua Rosenblum
Opera News, July 2016

Mezzo Catherine Cook makes for a formidable, colorful Stein with an outsized ego but humane core. She sounds luscious on long phrases… The charismatic baritone Robert Orth is in fine, vibrant form, shaping his singing with the sharp, precise inflections of speech while defending his art and reveling in his virility. Cook and Orth are very well matched, egging each other on with genuine escalating drama. As the Girl, soprano Ava Pine unexpectedly takes the wind out of their sails with her sorrow, grace, and wisdom, not to mention a thread-like high C sustained for a startlingly long time. © 2016 Opera News Read complete review

James H. North
Fanfare, July 2016

Music of Remembrance is a Seattle-based group that commissions, performs, and records music relating to the Holocaust; …Their mournful cast is enforced by a prominent oboe, to which the soprano line is joined, while the piano offer comments and contrasts. Laitman’s music honors the simple, elegant poetry, as do the performers. © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review

Laurence Vittes
Gramophone, May 2016

Cipullo weaves David Mason’s ingenious, rhapsodic libretto into an absorbing, often lively, occasionally desultory narrative told in words and music that is translucently scored and makes full use of the five-member ensemble’s colours, astonishingly vocal at times in their effect. © 2016 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, April 2016

The coupling of the two works makes perfect sense thematically and stylistically. Both are well worth hearing and well performed, very good examples of some of the significant tonal modern work being made right now in the US. © 2016 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review, March 2016

Laitman sets the words with sensitivity, and Megan Chenovick sings them with feeling… © 2016 Read complete review

Francis Muzzu
Opera Now, March 2016

Well worth a listen, especially as it’s partnered with In Sleep The World Is-Yours, three short songs by Lori Laitman based on elegant and moving poems by Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger, who died of typhus in a Ukrainian labour camp. They are delivered simply and movingly by soprano Megan Chenovick. © 2016 Opera Now

David Denton
David's Review Corner, February 2016

‘The German’s were lovers of art!’ says Pablo Picasso in this one-act opera, After Life, by the young American composer, Tom Cipullo, to a libretto by David Mason. A student of David Del Tredici and Thea Musgrave, Cipullo works in a tonal world, his writing always lyrical and with a distant ancestry derived from 18th century verismo Italian opera. Yet it is the make-believe words of Mason that really shapes the music’s content, the scene being set as a meeting between the ghosts of the American writer, Gertrude Stein, and the Spanish painter, Pablo Picasso. She was a former Jew who supported Franco in the Spanish Civil War, and was seemingly oblivious of the rise of the Nazi party. Picasso was a Communist who was well aware of the threat, and interwoven into their political sympathies was the question of art and whether it holds any place in the reality of life. Introduced into this scene is a young girl being transported to the Nazi death camp with the words, ‘I never read your books, I never saw your art, but I looked at the stars, I walked on earth’. It is scored for a mezzo, baritone and soprano (as the girl), with a small chamber group. The back insert informs us that recording details are in the booklet, but they are not, and I presume it comes from the first performance in May 2015 when it featured a very forceful Picasso from the baritone, Robert Orth, with Catherine Cook as Stein, and Ava Pine’s silvery voice for the girl’s small role. Lori Laitman has the benefit of real words from the days of the Holocaust with three deeply moving and disturbing poems written by an 18-year-old Ukrainian girl that are linked in the work, In Sleep The World Is Yours. I wonder what Cipullo’s more ‘traditional’ style of writing would have made of them, for I think they require less ‘art’ than Laitman brings to them. The sound quality is excellent and the texts are included in the booklet. © 2016 David’s Review Corner

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