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Elliot Goldenthal
1954 -
United States of America, NY
E. Goldenthal
Elliot Goldenthal (02/05/1954), an American composer of mainly film music, from New York. In 1972, Goldenthal came under the influence of Aaron Copland through an introduction by Leonard Bernstein. He stayed at Copland's house and they would play four hands on the piano. Goldenthal, in his learning process, would continuously ask Copland questions of every musical kind. Encouraging him in music were his house­painter father and seamstress mother.
Libera me
Composed in:1994
Musical form:soundtrack
Text/libretto:Latin mass
Libera me (1994) soundtrack of Interview with the vampire.
Fire Water Paper: A Vietnam Oratorio
Composed in:1995
Musical form:oratorium
Text/libretto:Catholic and Buddhist liturgies, contemporary poetry
In memory of:the Vietnam War
Label(s):Sony Records 68368
This large work contains three parts:
01. Offertorium
02. Scherzo (giang co)
03. Hymn

Two decades after its formal conclusion, the Vietnam War remains an American stigma whose knotted history participants still struggle to unsnarl. Elliot Goldenthal's three-movement oratorio attempts ­ much like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial ­ to create an artistic work that helps the public confront its feelings about the war. It succeeds. With an expanded orchestra and paired choruses, director Carl St. Clair gives voice to Goldenthal's lament.
Colliding Catholic and Buddhist liturgies, contemporary poetry, and a Jimi Hendrix guitar riff, Goldenthal's percussion- and brass-heavy work appeals to a broad audience. Its opening, "Offertorium," builds upon instrumental rounds to discordant climaxes, deafening clashes of metal-beating percussion and blaring brass; the "Scherzo" pits polyrhythmic trumpets against trilingual chants ­ a 17-count exercise executed with military precision. "Hymn" closes with prayerful imagery and guarded optimism, a children's chorus singing its final, sustained notes. Throughout, soloists Ann Panagulias and James Maddalena perform with exceptional strength; Yo-Yo Ma likewise delivers a fine performance, coaxing angry slashes and tender weeping from his cello.
What lingers, however, is Goldenthal's musical juxtapositions within the composition: oboe and solo baritone combine divergent timbres in the first movement; seesaw strings jar the woodwinds' graceful melody in the second. Choral voices paired with staccato percussion evoke shrapnel piercings, and simultaneous major-minor chords undermine any nationalistic, good-versus-evil metaphors.
"All wars are civil wars," sings the chorus at midpoint, "always man against man." With Fire Water Paper, Goldenthal begins to address these contradictions, to loosen the still-tangled knots of America's Vietnam legacy.
Author:Colin Berry