“Mr. Rosenblum composed “Lament/Witches Sabbath” specifically for Mr. Krakauer, one of the world’s preeminent klezmer virtuosos. The 25-minute concerto featured field recordings of Mr. Rosenblum’s late grandmother singing a traditional Ukrainian lament, with solo clarinet and orchestra woven around the keening melodies. Mr. Rosenblum also used quotations from the “Witches Sabbath” movement of Berlioz’s “Symphonie fantastique” to capture his grandmother’s old-world superstition.
“Mr. Krakauer’s artistry shone through even the most technical passages and extended techniques, including a lengthy cadenza that involved circular breathing — a method of playing a wind instrument indefinitely by breathing in through the nose quickly while puffing stored air from the cheeks — along with glissandos and pitched harmonics. The orchestra accompanied Mr. Krakauer and the recordings alike with feeling, conjuring the energy of a possessed mosh pit for the more nefarious “Witches Sabbath” quotes.”
“The sound of Krakauer’s instrument — keening, awash in bent notes and ornamentation — cuts through the texture at every junction, pairing brilliantly with Rosenblum’s microtonally accented language. A blazing cadenza for the soloist unleashed a stew of sorrow and incantation: here was the madness advertised in the concert’s title.”