Notes and Editorial Reviews
Benjamin Lees' music has never established itself in the concert hall or on recordings. So much the pity, for Lees' works are passionate, daring in style yet very accessible. The Symphony No. 4 "Memorial Candles" was written in 1985 and is a tribute to Holocaust victims. The three movement work is set to texts by Nobel Prize winning poet Nelly Sachs, and combines voice, solo violin and large orchestra.
The first movement, sub-titled "Visitations," is darkly atmospheric, filled with foreboding and terror. A frenzied solo violin adds to the building horror and reminds one of the more tortured side of Shostakovich's music. The second movement, "Manifestation," opens with an unaccompanied cello solo that quotes a Jewish folksong and
concludes with the mezzo-soprano singing the text of Sachs' poem 'Footsteps.' "Transcendence" is the third movement, which is marked by rich orchestral colors and the solo violin joining the singer in the final poem, 'But Who Emptied Your Shoes of Sand.'
This serious work receives a world class performance with vivid sonics from the Naxos engineers. Read less
Works on This Recording
Symphony no 4 "Memorial Candles" by Benjamin Lees
James Oliver Buswell (Violin),
Kimball Wheeler (Mezzo Soprano)
Ukrainian National Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century
Date of Recording: 05/1998
Venue: Ukranian Radio Concert Hall, Kiev
Length: 61 Minutes 42 Secs.
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