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Rave Reviews for New Kaufmann Recording by The ARC Ensemble

Rave Reviews for New Kaufmann Recording by The ARC Ensemble

Published on September 11, 2020

Rave Reviews for New Kaufmann Recording by The ARC Ensemble

Plus, watch a special event featuring Artistic Director Simon Wynberg

The ARC Ensemble’s latest CD, Chamber Works by Walter Kaufmann,” was launched last week to international acclaim.

  • “The discovery of the year. And, except for those who detest Indian idioms, unbeatable.” (Le Devoir, Christophe Huss)
  • “It’s particularly striking how immediate, fresh and new Kaufmann’s 80-plus-year-old music is in this significant contribution to the chamber music discography; it’s a celebration of the arresting artistry of a composer Winnipeg once proudly, if briefly, hailed as one of its own.” (Winnipeg Free Press, Holly Harris)
  • “These are substantial works, in which plaintive solemnity alternates with emphatic, syncopated dances, all heavily imbued with Indian modal, melodic and rhythmic sequences. I found this engrossing mix of European and Asian traditions richly rewarding and hope that this superb CD will inspire more recordings of Kaufmann’s music. I’d love to hear them.”  (The Whole Note, Michael Schulman)
  •  “This fearlessly individualistic album features string quartets as well as pieces for smaller and larger ensembles (Kaufmann also wrote symphonies and operatic works), all composed during Kaufmann’s time in India. The first work here, played by violinists Erika Raum and Marie Bérard, violist Steven Dann and cellist Thomas Wiebe, is the String Quartet No. 11. It’s like nothing you’ve ever heard before. A somber cello drone anchors an enigmatic, whole-tone-centric raga melody that the quartet take dancing in the brief, five-minute opening movement.”  (New York Music Daily, delarue)
  • “[…] the works on this disc bring his exquisitely unique musical voice to life with uncommon drama and emotion. A feeling of loss and nostalgia characterizes much of this music, often evoked by the haunting and transcendent classical Indian modalities […] This is a remarkable recording.” (World Music Report, Raul da Gama)
  • "The ARC Ensemble performs these premiere recordings with daring and verve, doing great justice to Kaufmann’s intriguingly idiosyncratic style.” (WQXR, Zev Kane)
  • "The ARC Ensemble have prepared this unfamiliar repertoire with care and a feeling for its beauties. I enjoyed Erika Raum’s sweet tone in the brief Second Violin Sonata and her quicksilver repartee with pianist Kevin Ahfat in Kaufmann’s sudden turns of thought […] Chandos and the ARC Ensemble would do everyone a favour by producing a second volume.” (Gramophone, Peter Quantrill). Read the full review here.

On Tuesday, September 15, Simon Wynberg, Artistic Director of The ARC Ensemble, joined acclaimed conductor James Conlon, Music Director of the Los Angeles Opera, and Robert Elias, Director of the Colburn School’s Ziering-Conlon Initiative for Recovered Voices, for Bohemia, Bombay, Bloomington: The Musical Exile of Walter Kaufmann.
This special live event featured a conversation about the exploration and recovery of the music that was marginalized and forgotten in the wake of National Socialism and World War II, and looked at Kauffmann’s lost musical repertoire as well as its journey to reclamation. The event also included performances by the Grammy-nominated ARC Ensemble and students of the Colburn School.

Click here to watch