No Song is Safe From Us

No Song Is Safe From Us - The NYFOS Blog
 |  Bright Sheng

Bartók once said that a simple folk melody can accommodate more complicated harmony. And here is a case in point. This descending Dorian tune repeats itself while the text changes, but the piano accompaniment changes quite bit along with the text, from consonance at the beginning to something more dissonant. I learned a great deal from performing this song many years ago.




 |  Bright Sheng

This three-song set is equivalent to three scenes from an opera. It paints the actions of the text both in reality and in abstraction, but in its most effective way, it depicts an unyielding longing for something unfathomable or unobtainable.




 |  Bright Sheng

I was Lenny’s assistant with Michael when we prepared the premiere of this set of eight songs for mezzo-soprano, baritone and piano four-hands. “Nachspiel” is the last one which has no text and all singers (and pianists, and perhaps the audience) humming together. It is so exquisitely written, touching and beautiful.




 |  Roberto Sierra

When I think of of exquisite writing for the voice and absolute masterful orchestration, I always think of this piece. For me this is the way to write for voice and orchestra. Absolute care about the registers, and the way Ravel keeps the balances has not been surpassed. On top of that, the gorgeous melodies and harmonies…




 |  Roberto Sierra

For my generation the memory of the Viet Nam War is not just a matter of history; the Viet Nam war is still vivid in our minds. As a young man I remember the horrors of this conflict, one that nobody really comprehended, yet millions had to go and fight not knowing if they would come back safe. Many did not, and others came back with problems and memories that would haunt them forever.




 |  Roberto Sierra

The inimitable Carlos Gardel was known throughout the world as the leading tango singer during the 1930’s. “El día que me quieras” (“The day you will love me”) is not a tango, but since its debut in 1935 this Latin American jewel became inseparable to the voice and the romantic image of Gardel.




 |  Roberto Sierra

No other moment in music comes as close to the ideal of perfection as this trio. The undulating string sounds suggest the soft undulating waves that takes us into the imaginary journey of this delightful farce. The combination of the vocal lines with the different harmonizations is what makes this music so striking. Particularly moving are the last statements of “ai nostri desir”, where on the word “desir” (desire) a dissonant chord of utmost beauty conveys a sense of longing and profound nostalgia. “May the elements respond kindly to our desires” said perhaps with tears in our eyes.




 |  Roberto Sierra

These are the sounds of salsa that I remember growing up in Puerto Rico, and these are the same sounds of Latin Music that could be heard in New York during the 1970’s! The amazing musicianship, timing, rhythm and impeccable musicianship are just masterful. Particularly moving for me is to see this group of Latinos in Zaire (now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo) bringing Salsa back to its musical roots.