VOICES OF LIGHT
EXCERPTS FROM REVIEWS
"...the audience seemed too swept away by Voices of Light to care about its category...the music heightens the impact of this pathbreaking film [and] this music should be experienced live as a complement to Dreyer's stunning film."
"Einhorn's oratorio aims to soar and complement [Joan of Arc], creating a unique and fascinating combination of the two arts."
"Dreyer's creation...is stunning on its own...But the tumultuous score, with it's echoes of chant and church bells, takes it over the edge."
"...a must see event."
"...Voices of Light, a stand-alone piece of considerable substance and beauty...the plaintive lament after Joan's medicinal bleeding is heart-breaking."
"...given...the spiritual depth and beauty of the libretto and music...you'll likely remember this performance for the rest of your life."
Einhorn's music adds another element and enhances the film...It will leave you sobbing."
"Einhorn has added light to a cinematic poem about suffering."
"Voices of Light [is] a Triumph..."
"Dreyer and Einhorn together create a harrowing and exalting symbiosis that, once encountered, cannot soon be forgotten...[Einhorn's oratorio is] a substantial and valuable work, combining elements of Renaissance music with the slow, spare, mostly consonant, deeply felt and prayerful strain of contemporary composition that has come to be known as "holy minimalism"...subtle, brilliantly effective."
"A moving score, expertly performed, sublimely matches one of the great films of all time."
"...instead of using the conventional silent film vocabulary...Mr. Einhorn has composed an oratorio that amplifies and comments on the film, sometimes directly, often obliquely...Musically, the score pivots between Joan's world and ours, using a medieval style that sounds authentically antique for stretches, but that invariably unfolds into a post-Minimalist combination of repeating figures and lush neo-Romantic orchestration."
"The newly composed score by Richard Einhorn, an oratorio setting biblical, misogynist and mystical tests, turned [Dreyer's] examples of humanity into icons. The trial became a gripping ceremony, the display of torture apparatus a source of horror, and the final conflagration a black ritual in which cosmic forces were invoked by the score's Minimalist, ersatz-medieval chants."
"To accompany a reconstructed print of the original [version of Carl Dreyer's film The Passion of Joan of Arc] that was discovered in 1982, the U.S.'s Richard Einhorn wrote Voices of Light, an oratorio that beautifully complements the film...Einhorn underscored the cinematic creation with a dramatic composition that stands on its own."
"Powerful union of music and images makes [Voices of Light/The Passion of Joan of Arc] a unique experience...finally, image and sound have come together in a way that demands lasting preservation on videotape, or, better, a Sony laserdisc."
"...for anyone who knows [the Dreyer film, Voices of Light] evokes Dreyer's imagery to a degree that is uncanny. There apparently will be a series of live performances this year using the score as accompaniment to the film, and the disc shoulepare prospective viewers for an overwhelming experience."
"[Voices of Light/The Passion of Joan of Arc] is the most successful melding yet of classic cinema and live music...full of deft touches."
"...[an] evening that will stay with you long after the 20th century is gone."
"...an extraordinarily gripping concert...While the audience seemed mesmerized by the stunning onscreen performance, the music coming from the darkened stage proved equally brilliant...the unorthodox blending of an ancient story told through an old film and new music emerged as one supremely emotional experience. This just doesn't happen every day - even in the concert hall."
"A great masterpiece of contemporary music...music that is totally worthy of the masterpiece [The Passion of Joan of Arc] that inspired it...one of the great pieces of medievalist music in a millennial age that has gone back to medieval art for replenishment and inspiration."
"Richard Einhorn's remarkable oratorio Voices of Light...[a] haunting score which sets texts by female mystics of the Middle Ages...a seamless, yet varied stream of vignettes that conjures up the period...The film and score fuse powerfully..."
"[Voices of Light] is a thrilling work, by turns haunting, sinister, tragic and triumphant...Complex, magnificent music illuminating this wonderful film..."
"The exquisitely beautiful score...is beautifully performed and recorded...the music is so thoroughly uplifting and so unerring that, like Joan herself, it has the power to convince even the most hardened skeptic. It did this one."
"...an overwhelming experience...It is full of variety - a cello solo may suggest a Bach suite, soprano and mezzo may sing in splendidly pure parallel fifths, the chorus may rise in tension or project a profound serenity. The score reflects the implications of events, with a prevailing sense of nobility."
"Voices of Light is without question the most powerfully emotional piece of new music that I've ever had the privilege to program."
"...[the music is] highly modal, emotionally compact and direct, arresting in its harmonic simplicity and completely enjoyable on its own."
"There is a simplicity of line and a love of sheer sound...which makes Voices of Light as approachable as any modern piece could be asked to be..."
"I love the medieval minimalism of Richard Einhorn's oratorio, Voices of Light. It's at the top of my list of the Ten Best CDs of 1995."
"...an awe-filled gasp seemed an altogether appropriate response to this altogether astounding evening."
"Orff-like in its simplicity and hauntingly beautiful, [Voices of Light] is overwhelming in its emotional power."
"[Anonymous 4] performs exceptionally...The music is distinct in personality and expertly crafted. Einhorn's command of orchestration is evident, as is his love for the voice."
"...as with all good music, the piece captures a particular mood at once ancient and modern that is instantly evocative and memorable. The performance is exceptional."
"Einhorn's meticulous genius and the exhaustive work of the performers culminated in a spectacular performance...the score was a perfect match to the movie."
"The musical settings flow naturally, with none of the stilted self-conscious vocal settings of some contemporary composers...The overall effect is one of beautiful serenity...an ethereal, other-worldly quality that is magical..."
"The totality was far greater than the sum of the ingredients. The throng filled the Civic Auditorium to capacity Saturday...The success of this work, here as elsewhere, reflects an immense quest for spirituality, extending beyond the realm of traditional religion."
"...the music offers a vivid psychological counterpoint to the action onscreen...the dazzled audience felt that it too, had undergone a kind of fire and rebirth. It was impossible not to come away from Voices of Light feeling enriched."
"Einhorn...moves the work along in a way that neither classical minimalists nor mystics ever seem willing or able to...there is a great deal here to please the ear and, by following the fascinating texts, the mind as well."
"...a powerful evening combining beautiful music with one of the few films to achieve tragic grandeur."
"Nearly everyone has seen movies, and most have heard live choral or orchestral music. Yet few have experienced them together. Those who haven't have missed out on something truly unique. Those who attended Sunday's performance of Voices of Light experienced something even more. A rare moment of uncommon artistry."
"New York surely has not heard or seen the last of Voices of Light / The Passion of Joan of Arc."
"The packed house at Avery Fisher Hall sat spellbound [and] at the end rose from its seats and cheered for close to ten minutes. "
"...warm, colourful music...It's listenable stuff that nods respectfully in the direction of Bach, Carl Orff, and Arvo Pärt, without loosing freshness and originality."
"...[A] splendid score - an eclectic work that successfully melds authentic-sounding medieval music with contemporary minimalism...a memorable and exhilarating evening of live music and cinema."
"...A mesmerizing marriage of sight and sound, Voices of Light/The Passion of Joan of Arc initially seems an unlikely candidate for multi-media success. Yet the combination of [music and film] has been a guaranteed spellbinder since the duo was debuted in 1994."
"...a haunting, heart-wrenching and completely unforgettable experience of sight and sound."
"[The music] lays under the film with a luxurious musical coating...[this] opulent musical-theatre work is of the highest quality..."
"The music and film together were at times so gripping on the emotions that physical reactions did not appear among patrons."
"...I couldn't imagine watching the film without [Richard Einhorn's Voices of Light]. As the lights went up, I realized the music had contributed something immeasurable to the impact of this cinematic drama... It will surely be one of the memorable musical events of this year."
"Coupled with the film, Einhorn's music ceases to be dull and becomes inevitable. It's hard to imagine the film without it...this great film got the score it always deserved."
"All of the words are sung in the ancient languages heard in Joan of Arc's time. But Einhorn's music also is rooted in our time with its sense of drama evoking our strong response. Melding of sight and sound produces an intense symbiotic union with the music intensifying the film, relating it to Joan's era and ours, making the saint's experience more relevant to us."
"It is as if the black and white images [of the film] have been absorbed in the orchestra strings, but with a sonorous sound to serve the filmic sequences of (often heartbreaking) emotions...That RAU Arts has initiated the Einhorn concert is laudable. A point of light this Voices of Light!"
"Nobody present is likely to soon forget what unfolded."
"I have seldom seen an audience so moved...[the music] works superbly as a combined experience with the Dreyer film...A film given like this becomes something living...[at the after-concert discusssion, a man said] he had never in his life attended an event at which music and film had so deeply affected him..that man spoke for most of us. It was an unforgettable night."
"...the score contains passages of great beauty, and they were experty delivered (Marin Alsop, Colorado Symphony) delighting both audience and composer, who was in attendance."
"...despite its deep emotional plot, Voices of Light requires no pre-study for appreciation and can be enjoyed by all."