When George Crumb first saw poems by Federico García Lorca he felt like he had been struck by lightning. They conjured up memories from a former life, he once said in an interview. It was an experience that had far-reaching consequences. A large part of Crumb’s work as a composer was dedicated to setting Lorca’s poetry to music. Crumb’s Ancient Voices of Children is one of the most impressive homages he paid to the Spanish poet; a cycle of songs for soprano, boy soprano, oboe, mandolin, harp, amplified piano and three percussion players. The piece, which dates from 1970, asks the utmost from its performers, not in the least from the two vocalists who are required to perform virtuoso technical demands. When Crumb was asked what had spurred him on to write the cycle, he replied, “to ask Christ the lord to give me back my ancient soul of a child”.
Branding Ensemble: Jacob Kellermann, guitar solo, mandoline / Christopher Bouwman, oboe / Femke IJlstra, saxophone / Miriam Overlach, harp / David Huang, piano / Natalia Alvarez, percussion / Nerea Vera, percussion / Mei-yi Lee, percussion / Dario Calderone, double bass