February 4, 1996
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Lisa Hansen (flute), Steven Honigberg (cello), Wendy Lucas (harp), Maura Molloy (mezzo-soprano)
February 1, 1998
Beurs van Berlage Series, AGA Zaal, Amsterdam
Vincent Cortvint (flute), Alexandre Bonnet (harp), Johan van Iersel (cello), Isabelle Ganz (mezzo-soprano
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February 7, 2016
Temple Emanuel, Brookline MA
Performed by Mistral
Krista River, mezzo-soprano
Jan Muller-Szeraws, cello
Julie Scolnik, flute
Ina Zdorovetchi, harp
Amid several excellent selections, one profoundly moving work recommends this album on its own. Michael Cohen's I Remember (1996) is a song-cycle based on the life of Anne Frank, setting texts from the plays I am Anne Frank and Yours, Anne. It's a visceral account, and soprano Sandra Simon's expressive voice vividly captures Frank's vulnerability, fear, anger and ultimately uncommon resolve. her singing is enveloped by a background of delicate chamber music that uncannily captures Frank's mindset. The chamber ensemble Panorámicos takes a patient approach to the music that serves it well. With its tragic subject and tasteful use of tonality, I Remember is one of the most moving works written in recent decades. The climax at the text, "I still love life," is deeply touching.
Music inspired by the Holocaust isn’t exactly a rare commodity, but I Remember is one of the few efforts that work as a remembrance and as a strong individual work. Cohen brings it off with great success. His writing for the voice wraps seamlessly around the words with a Britten-like ease. Mostly lyrical and tonal, I Remember at times echoes Samuel Barber and Knoxville: Summer of 1915, but there is an edgy quality to the instrumental writing that is quite individual. The text recreates the spirit, but not the exact letter of Anne’s diary, and does so in a consistently affecting way. A haunting, moving work with moments of real beauty.
–Lawrence Johnson, Chicago Tribune
A beautiful and deeply touching song cycle. Composer Michael Cohen, and his Librettist, Enid Futterman, are worthy of the inspiration, and avoid producing a superfluity among the many other retellings of the diary.
—Joseph Stevenson, All Music Guide
A beautiful chamber music concert was transfigured by its final piece, an inspired setting of the words of Anne Frank. I Remember, by Michael Cohen and Enid Futterman, was written only four years ago, and the least of its accomplishments is a reminder that music of our time can be deeply rewarding.
—Mark Kenny, Pittsburgh Tribune
I Remember is a remarkable work by Michael Cohen with libretto by Enid Futterman, was the most important piece on Sunday’s program, Up From the Ashes: Music and Poetry of the Holocaust”. The linking of these words to music evocative of the drama and suffering, the isolation and impending tragedy, creates a double impact. Cohen uses a four-note instrumental motif that recurs throughout the 23 minute work. Judicious modulations of key and variation in instrumental color alter the motif to match the text at various point. It deserves to be heard more often.
–Ted McIrvine, Classical Voice of North Carolina
The superb Cleveland chamber ensemble Panoramicos takes up haunting music by Michael Cohen, a touching evocation of Holocaust text, sung with endearing purity by soprano Sandra Simon. Grade: A.
—Donald Rosenberg, Cleveland Plain Dealer