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Laurence Vittes
Gramophone, October 2015

While clarinettist David Krakauer plays with his customary blend of virtuosity and abandon, Neal Stulberg leads the large vocal, choral and orchestral forces to heroic efforts, recorded with power and impact in UCLA’s iconic Royce Hall. © 2015 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



Joshua Rosenblum
Opera News, December 2014

Baritone David Kravitz is an extroverted and impassioned presence for extended passages, quite capably embodying the frightfully high stakes of the proceedings. In one of the “Oseh shalom” passages, tenor James Callon sings fervently but with a certain tranquility that seems to offer the possibility of peace. …the UCLA Philharmonia, Chorale, and University Chorus…have clearly risen to the protean demands placed on them, performing with sturdy musicianship and considerable emotive power. Conductor Neal Stulberg has an impressively sure grasp of this challenging and multi-layered work, imposing discipline where it’s needed, and unleashing chaos where it’s demanded. © 2015 Opera News Read complete review




Lawrence D. Devoe, MD
Blu-rayDefinition.com, October 2014

…this is a remarkable program, given a stellar performance by all concerned…

Poems and Prayers is not only a symphony for our troubled times but one that is truly timeless, capable of reaching audiences of all religious persuasions. If there was ever a new Pure Audio Blu-ray™ release that demands to be heard, this is it. © 2014 Blu-rayDefinition.com Read complete review



Paul Corfield Godfrey
MusicWeb International, September 2014

The performances…are magnificently assured and one would never suspect that this is a student body of singers and players. Sasha Cooke and David Kravitz, who have the lion’s share of the solo work in the symphony, are both committed and manage their often awkward vocal lines with passion. Even better is James Callon, who has a small part in the first repeat of the prayer for peace which he floats beautifully. Neal Stulberg manages all his forces with conviction. © 2014 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, August 2014

[In] Tahrir…David Krakauer does an excellent job realizing the clarinet part. The music cleverly and delightfully sets the stage for the larger work to come, “Poems and Prayers”.

The symphony has a great gravity to it, as it both mourns the deaths in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and prays for peace in that region. Mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and baritone David Kravitz have important roles in conjunction with the massed choirs of UCLA along with the Philharmonia, all conducted in a moving performance by Neal Stulberg.

The music itself is quite effectively eclectic with modern tonality alternating with mid-eastern modes in ways that move the emotions and express the concern, horror and dismay one may well be feeling as a listener prior to coming to this music.

Mohammed Fairouz lives up to his promise as a contemporary composer of talent, creativity and even brilliance on this disk.

Highly recommended. © 2014 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review



Robert Benson
ClassicalCDReview.com, July 2014

The orchestra and chorus are superb, and the rich recording captures the big sound impressively. This is a most unusual recording, highly recommended. © 2014 ClassicalCDReview.com Read complete review



Brian Wigman
Classical Net, June 2014

…the conducting is terrific here, the orchestral contributions superb. Sasha Cooke [in the Symphony] reminds me why I like mezzo-sopranos so much in this kind of piece, and David Kravitz is similarly inspired. This is triumph, and arguably important on many levels. © 2014 Classical Net Read complete review





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