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  • Ralf Yusuf Gawlick (b. 1969): O Lungo Drom, Op. 22:
  • 1Gawlick: O Lungo Drom, Op. 22: I. Ascent03:01
  • 2Gawlick: O Lungo Drom, Op. 22: II. Madre del alma03:23
  • 3Gawlick: O Lungo Drom, Op. 22: III. Sako rat me, devla06:36
  • 4Gawlick: O Lungo Drom, Op. 22: IV. Ricordo un bimbo07:06
  • 5Gawlick: O Lungo Drom, Op. 22: V. Zošto me donese na svet, majko draga?03:17
  • 6Gawlick: O Lungo Drom, Op. 22: VI. Aj muro trajo, sar o glindo rupuvno06:19
  • 7Gawlick: O Lungo Drom, Op. 22: VII. Nadir Bištu vekus, so dijan tu čorore romenge?03:28
  • 8Gawlick: O Lungo Drom, Op. 22: VIII. Totentanz06:13
  • 9Gawlick: O Lungo Drom, Op. 22: IX. Und eines Tages war die Gestapo bei uns an der Tür08:40
  • 10Gawlick: O Lungo Drom, Op. 22: X. Angekommen sind wir im Auschwitz-Paradies03:13
  • 11Gawlick: O Lungo Drom, Op. 22: XI. Vista In den Poren einer Frau03:46
  • 12Gawlick: O Lungo Drom, Op. 22: XII. Oj, jak pięknie w niebo patrzeć wciąż od nowa05:17
  • 13Gawlick: O Lungo Drom, Op. 22: XIII. Je vous vends mes larmes05:41
  • Total Runtime01:06:00

Info for Ralf Yusuf Gawlick: O Lungo Drom, Op. 22

Ever since their appearance in Europe over a thousand years ago, the “Roma” – the ethnonym that the Roma use to describe themselves – have been labeled with derogatory, disparaging, and ethnically insulting words such as “G*psy”, “Zigeuner”, “Zingari”, “Cygan”, etc…, words derived from the Greek “Atzinganoi”, which translates as “untouchable”. These designations reveal a brutal social hierarchy which continues to plague and condemn the Roma to a pariah status in many places world-wide, subjecting them to constant discrimination and persecution - punctuated by infernal periods of enslavement and genocide. For centuries, literature about the Roma came exclusively from the ‘outside’, by non-Roma authors looking in, and it is precisely this literature that has persistently perpetuated ethnic, social and cultural stereotypes that have proven so harmful to this minority. It is not until the twentieth century – but essentially only in the past fifty years, that Roma poets and writers have begun to express themselves in written form in Romani (or Romanes), a macrolanguage of Romani communities, or in the vernacular of the countries or regions within which they reside. These are watershed years, since for the first time, the Roma ‘speak’ from ‘within’ to authentically express what has been shrouded in the fog of popular imagination for ages.

O Lungo Drom (“The Long Road” in Romanes) (2022) is an oratorio that tracks the history of the Roma and Sinti (a subgroup of the Romani people found mostly in Germany) through the words of Sinti/Roma poets and writers themselves. This oratorio contains many significant ‘firsts’: it is the first oratorio on a Romani subject, the first that sets multiple texts by Romani authors, and the first to be set to music by a Rom. O Lungo Drom integrates texts from thirteen different poets from thirteen different Roma/Sinti authors in ten languages and Romanes dialects, organized in a three-part narrative: I. Ascent - II. Nadir - III. Vista. Along with a Danse Macabre, Litany and echoes of Lili Marleen from Auschwitz, these voices combine to pave and express worlds of melancholy, grief, nostalgia, and exultation through rhapsodic, bittersweet, elegiac and introspective lyricism.

The ensemble for the première, and the commissioning entity for the work is the Alban Berg Ensemble Wien (ABEW), a Universal Music Group/DGG recording ensemble, with their first album released in July 2020. The ensemble is supported by the Alban Berg Stiftung/Foundation in Vienna (which also supported the Alban Berg Quartett in a similar role, the Hugo Wolf Quartet having studied directly with the ABQ). The ABEW (flute, clarinet, piano & string quartet) - along with soprano Clara Meloni, baritone Christoph Filler and cimbalomist László Rácz - just recorded the work for Decca in the Franz-Liszt Zentrum Raiding (the birthplace of Franz Liszt, the first great Western composer to recognize Roma culture in his own works) in the Burgenland outside Vienna. O Lungo Drom will be released by Decca/Universal in spring 2024 and distributed globally by Decca Eloquence, based in Australia, the executive producer being Cyrus Meher-Homji, senior vice-president of Universal Classics and Jazz.

The work was commissioned by the Alban Berg Ensemble Wien, and is dedicated to Romani Rose, head of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma.

Clara Meloni, soprano
Christoph Filler, baritone
László Ràcz, cimbalon
Alban Berg Ensemble Wien

Alban Berg Ensemble Wien
Exciting modern and topical programs, to initiate the audience unto our journeys of artistic discovery, to communicate music in an open-minded, uncompromising, yet in a poetic manner: this is the mission and the guiding principles that unite the seven musicians who constitute the Alban Berg Ensemble Wien.

This Ensemble, formed in 2016, comprises the renowned Hugo Wolf Quartet, pianist Ariane Haering as well as, flutist Silvia Careddu and clarinetist Alexander Neubauer from the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. The Alban Berg Foundation bestows its imprimatur as a public acknowledgement of the esteem in which these musicians are held for their artistic vision, and in recognition of their innovative path in the spirit of Alban Berg - connected to the past while committed to the future.

The Wiener Musikverein invited the ensemble to perform an annual series of concerts, since 2023 this „ABEW in Vienna“ series is held in the 18th century palace of Josephinum.

The first CD of the ABEW was released on the Deutsche Grammophone label. It features works of Mahler, Strauss and Schönberg, all written in the first years of the 20th century. The three composers all found different solutions to the musical questions of their time, and the outcome of the ABEW ́s look on their works is a „fascinating debut of rare intensity.“, „exceptional in intonational precision and clarity of texture.“

„This Deutsche Grammophon debut for Alban Berg Ensemble Wien is a winner.“

In 2022 the ABEW premiered O Lungo (D)rom by Ralf Yusuf Gawlick in the Konzerthaus Berlin. This work was written for the ABEW and follows the long road Roma and Sinti people had to follow throughout the centuries.The ensemble is delighted that their dedication to the cause as well as their enthusiasm for contemporary music will be leading to a release of this work on the DECCA label in spring 2024.

Ralf Yusuf Gawlick
is a German-American composer of Romani-Kurdish descent. His works include solo, chamber, orchestral, electro-acoustic, film and choral music, traversing a wide range of styles and often exploring aspects of his complex international heritage. His music has been commissioned and championed by a wide range of artists and organizations, attracting international acclaim from audiences and critics. In recent years his electro-acoustic work Herzliche Grüße Bruno ~ Briefe aus Stalingrad, eight-voice Missa Gentis Humanæ, song cycle Kollwitz-Konnex (…im Frieden seiner Hände), Kinderkreuzzug cantata and autobiographical string quartet Imagined Memories have exemplified his remarkably diverse output, with its frequent references to the highlights of the Western musical canon and rigorous compositional standards. Gawlick’s most recent composition, an oratorio entitled O Lungo Drom (The Long Road), was commissioned by the Alban Berg Ensemble Wien and is dedicated to Romani Rose, Chairman of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma. His music, published by several firms, has been performed internationally (in venues including Konzerthaus Berlin, Vienna’s Musikverein, New York’s Carnegie Hall) and is recorded on the Musica Omnia, Perfect Noise and Decca Eloquence labels in composer-supervised performances by the works’ dedicatees. Gawlick is currently working on Die Ursitory, an opera based on Matéo Maximoff’s novel of the same name. This opera contains many "firsts": Die Ursitory is the first novel written by a Rom, on a Romani theme, and now set to music by a Romani composer. In this way, Maximoff's seminal story receives a unique realization from within, rather than being viewed through the lens and stereotypes of non-Roma, as in all previous operas with Roma (G*psy) themes. A professor at Boston College, Ralf Gawlick lives in Newton, MA, with his wife and fellow musician, Basia.

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