Full Reviews – Laura Kaminsky

And Trouble Came

And Trouble Came: An African AIDS Diary is a narrative and a meditation, skillfully combining words and a wide range of musical styles in a moving and uplifting experience.” – American Record Guide

In And Trouble Came: An African AIDS Diary, Kaminsky has fashioned a text that interweaves three poems and some brief Biblical fragments (from Job and the Psalms) with words of her own, the latter reflecting her experience living for a time in Ghana, where she had the occasion to meet a number of AIDS patients. The words are compellingly, simply, and movingly delivered by the actor/stage director Mark Lamos. The lesson this piece teaches is both simple and profound: to love the dying. This disc is crucial listening for anyone who values life and its meaning.” – Fanfare

And Trouble Came: An African AIDS Diary comes slowly and fully ornamented with dramatic effectiveness and quiet boldness. Narrated by Mark Lamos (nothing is sung), the journal entries light places in the heart and later in the mind that resemble the humanness we seek and sometimes stumble on the way. Classical in its simplicity and texture, neither too dark and never audacious in effect, Kaminsky’s selection of poetry and scription set to her long smooth cello deserves mass attention.” – 4Front Magazine

Piano Quintet

Kaminsky’s new quintet proved a concise work of considerable substance and atmosphere.”  – New York Classical Review

Rising Tide

Rising Tide, with violin rising out of the unceasingly energetic texture … reflects a conceptual framework for confronting climate change.” – I Care if You Listen

Undercurrent

an important if harrowing addition to the violin/piano duo pantheon.” – performingartsreview.net

Laura Kaminsky’s Undercurrent (2015) scans the subconscious depths of the human psyche with mesmerizing colors hued in quarter tone malaise and propelled by pitch slides and ominous low chords on the piano. The piece occasionally reaches the bright surface but like the Gulf Stream, ultimately runs silent, swift and deep. An important if harrowing addition to the violin/piano duo pantheon.” – performingartsreview.net

Some Light Emerges

Through the personal stories of its characters, both moving and humorous, Some Light Emerges reveals how political and spiritual conflicts can be better understood and ultimately resolved through art while honoring the people who create and support such art.” – Broadway World Opera

Some Light Emerges, the new opera commissioned by Houston Grand Opera through its community collaborative initiative, dives right into Rothko and de Menil’s shared spiritual vision with plaintive, purposefully meandering music by Laura Kaminsky and an audacious libretto by Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed. The 75-minute chamber piece — written for seven singers and seven instruments — just might be the best articulation of the Rothko Chapel’s purpose in modern times … it’s nothing short of a pronunciation of American ideals. The piece remained sublime, a testament to both the performers and the writing.” – Houston Chronicle

Fantasy for Solo Piano

… an extensive Fantasy for solo piano by Laura Kaminsky (N.Y. premiere) explored, in episodic fashion, piano sonorities from Debussyesque gongs and watery burbles to jazzy dialogue between the hands … with its moderation of expression and close attention to nuance and detail, [the piece] often had one imagining an atonal Amy Beach composing “A Hermit Thrush at Eve” in 2017.” – New York Classical Review

Homage to Havel

The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly Laura Kaminsky’s “Homage to Havel,” a tribute to the Czech Republic’s first president, Václav Havel. Kaminsky is a skilled composer who fully understands the capabilities and strengths of each instrument, combining sounds in a way that is both intriguing and unique. Her thought-provoking piece was electrifying throughout and Cygnus performed it with energetic confidence. – Feast of Music

Deception

Laura Kaminsky‘s strikingly intense diptych, Deception (with clarinetist Moran) Katz’s moody, richly burnished low register in tandem with the cello built an air of mystery and foreboding, occasionally punctured by the piano. The second movement worked clever variations via individual voices in a very Debussy-esque arrangement that also offered a nod to Shostakovich and possibly Penderecki as well.” – Lucid Culture

Interpolations on Utopia Parkway

Ms. Kaminsky’s substantial duo, ‘Interpolations on Utopia Parkway,’ reflected her contact with life in Africa, where the sense of how events move through time is so different from ours, and her piece engaged the listener in an unusual manner.” – New Music Connoisseur

Twilight Settings

Not only a tone poem of nature at day’s end, Twilight Settings also depicts a world where twilight, and the inevitable darkness which follows, are harbingers of death. The music is very spare and evocative; traces of gamelan flicker in the percussion ostinatos, and some folkish triads — especially in the opening and closing songs — warm the soprano lines. The work ends effectively and beautifully.” – American Music

A Dream Revisited

A Dream Revisited for amplified flute and percussion is delicate and imaginative.” – The New Yorker

Until A Name

I was strongly drawn to [a] more serious work that uses dialogue as [its] main dramatic structure. In Laura Kaminsky’s Until A Name, based on Conversation by Elizabeth Bishop, the exchange is between rapid passage work and evocative long tones. Fascinated by the awareness of the breath within the sustained tones, I became a participant in the drama rather than an onlooker. Terri Sundberg’s playing is especially expressive at the climactic moment of stillness when a series of repeated notes begins the work’s denouement into a dissonant silence.” – New Music Connoisseur


A composer with an ear for the new and interesting [whose work is] colorful and harmonically sharp edged.” – The New York Times