The young New York based Irish composer, Emma O’Halloran, took the title of her Quartet from an Emily Dickinson letter – Dying is a wild night and a new road. Dickinson’s writings are often more than halfway to music and have inspired many composers. Schumann’s Piano Quintet is not only his supreme chamber music achievement, but also his happiest reconciliation of the conflicting demands of form and content – youthful fire and a master’s assurance sitting easily side by side. Dreams and Prayers is a big work, a fusion of Jewish klezmer tradition with the classical tradition of the string quartet. It makes huge demands on the clarinet player who must play a whole series of instruments with music ranging from wildly raucous to calm, gentle and beautiful and everything in between.
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