There is currently a "big" (in new music terms) controversy over Golijov's perhaps less than honest use of others' music in his own. Now, you may recall I did a big blog post expounding on the virtues of his cello concerto Azul. So I thought I'd once again provide the links so you can hear for yourself what everybody is complaining about.
Here is a link to hear Michael Ward-Bergman's Barbeich (cool).
Here is a performance of Golijov's Siderius (which he says is based on Ward-Bergeman's "melody").
Worth noting: is it plagiarism if the two composers had an agreement? Michael Ward-Bergeman is not the one complaining here.
As I may have mentioned in the past, nobody stirs up the general hatred of other composers like Osvaldo Golijov seems to be able to, and I respect that. I'm torn because he has written (or maybe "written") some pretty awesome pieces, but that is not a relevant issue as far as a lot of other composers are concerned. (Related: composers' general dismissal of Danny Elfman, who I also seem to defend.) I mean, is there a point where we have to say, if the music is awesome, who cares where it came from? Isn't it still awesome? There have been some pretty great "plagiarists" in the pantheon of great Western composers (Mahler, Stravinsky, Michael Daugherty- inside composers joke- etc.)
Sadly, it doesn't seem Sidereus can defend itself on awesome grounds. Golijov, get it together! The world needs more composers that are actually good, so I'm not giving up on you completely. Maybe the pressure of being an A-list composer is getting to you? I'm going to go listen to The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind now.
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