Performing the work, we heard ‘cellists François Salque (France) and Hillel Zori (Israel) with the Kölner Vokalsolisten (Germany) and Danish-born soprano Rosemarie Danziger (Israel); conducting was baritone Ansgar Eimann (Germany), a founding member of the Kölner Vokalsolisten. The vocal ensemble opened with low, held notes.
‘Out of the darkness I come, a woman,
I carry a child, but no longer know whose;
Once I knew it…’
Presenting its rich choral soundscape, the Cologne singers dealt well with the challenges of the choral text, its tonal and atonal moments (tuning forks used) and gentle clusters, its jazzy rhythms and harmonies, its drama and effects, always remaining focused on the text’s meaning within Marshall’s changing, multi-genre compositional style. Rosemarie Danziger’s lush, creamy vocal timbre gave beauty and expression to the dejected mood of the text, whether in solo singing or threaded through the rich musical collage, the ‘cellos (Salque, Zori) adding vehemence, intensity and resonance – both emotional and sonorous – to Kolmar’s richly varied depictions of what she passes on this sole journey. Spiraling to forte sounds, the work concludes with:
‘A cave awaits,
Its deepest chasm a shelter for the metal-green raven who has no name.
There I shall enter,
Under the aegis of those huge, shadowing wings
I shall crouch down and rest.
Somnolent, I shall listen to my child’s mute, growing word
And sleep, my face turned toward the East, until sunrise.’
When asked whether “Out of the Darkness” would fit into the category of a “Holocaust piece”, Julian Marshall answered thus: “My answer is both yes and no. It is, in as much as the text is, of course, deeply embedded historically in European and Jewish social context. It is also, however, for me, important to approach the piece in a broader context: as an enquiry into the critical issues of freedom and constraint that have relevance for so many today.”
A thought-provoking work within the 2015 Eilat Chamber Music Festival’s musical fare, here was a collaboration between Israeli and overseas artists and the chance to hear a contemporary and very different work.