Music of extraordinary power and intensity.
Alex Ross, THE NEW YORKER
Her music — highly dramatic, communicative and rich with brooding intensity and poetic expression — speaks in a singular voice that builds on the language of modern Russian composers such as Shostakovich and Alfred Schnittke.
Mark Stryker, DETROIT FREE PRESS
Those fearful of contemporary music may think of it as dry, cerebral, atonal and scary. Lera Auerbach, a Russian-born composer, delivers lots of fire and passion in music. She offers 18th-century forms and a 19th-century sensibility (that of the brilliant virtuoso) expressed in a 21st-century vocabulary.
Anne Midgette, WASHINGTON POST
Russian pianist and composer Lera Auerbach is one of the most arresting and unique figures in classical music in the early twenty first century… Auerbach music is in a class by itself.
Coming to her music for the first time I am aware of a phenomenon. Her performances of her piano music hold nothing back and testify to a fabulous technique. This is music of emotional, or at least rhetorical extremes: furious toccatas and frozen stasis, grandiose chordal explosions and tunes tricksily harmonized. The sincerity is unquestionable.
Carlun McDonald, BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE
Auerbach is a Renaissance woman, excelling as pianist, composer, artist and poet. Her texts have a universal dimension, rejecting religious dogma in favor of global spirituality.”
Her music is theatrical, negotiating the liminal territory between life and death, beauty and ugliness, lov and betrayal, victory and suffering, sincerity and irony. Auerbach is Russian, but she seems to have inhaled all her predecessors in a single gulp. Not only composers from Rachmaninoff to Shostakovich and Alfred Schnittke but also heroes of literature dating back to Gogol and Pushkin. The result is a singular voice, rooted in traditional forms and tonality, but still contemporary.
Mark Stryker – DETROIT FREE PRESS
This approximately 80-minute work [Dresden Requiem] allows death and resurrection, mourning and hope to become present. It provides moments of the most profound inner reflection, thanks to supernaturally beautiful passages for the boys’ choir; mourning is given a moving voice and listeners are made to sit up and take notice with chimes, tympani rolls and sharp attacks in the brass instruments.
To the perennial question of how to make new music palatable to supposedly resistant audiences, the National Symphony Orchestra and Christoph Eschenbach, in Thursday night’s program, came up with a refreshing answer. They turned to the composer Lera Auerbach.
Anne Midgette, WASHINGTON POST
Here, again, one encounters music at its most deeply personal, realized through an equally deep understanding of the grammar and logic keyboard composition. My only regret is that there is so much potential for expression in this music that it deserves performances by other pianists, as well as Auerbach herself. The time for Auerbach’s presence on more Piano recitals is definitely overdue.
SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER
“Still in her 30s, she is thoroughly at ease playing the piano in the world’s famous concert halls with the world’s greatest conductors and orchestras. Astonishingly, she is equally famed for numerous acclaimed compositions. In addition, she’s a poet and writer of note, with six volumes of poetry and prose in Russian already to her credit. She was selected as a member of the forum of Young Global Leaders by the World Economic Forum in Davos.”
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS
The Little Mermaid steps in as a full-fledged modern classic. The score by Lera Auerbach is miraculous. Known for her stylistic freedom and use of sensual melodic lines that ebb and flow through riptides of atonality, Auerbach has provided the ideal soundscape for these dual realms of land and sea, and the conflicts of desire and unfulfilled love”
SAN FRANCISCO SENTINEL
Ironically, it was Lera Auerbach’s “Epilogue”, a piece about exhaustion, that roused the evening from turgidity. Even its slowness was interesting, and its textures varied from sounds like glass shards to wobblings in the lower strings to the faded sigh of the cello. Nor did this Piece go on for one second beyond what the composer had to say.
NEW YORK TIMES
Auerbach stands in the Russian tradition of Shostakovich and Prokofiev, later Schnittke and Gubaidulina, with her experience living in the United States helping to create an international voice. The conservatism of her music coupled with a strong degree of imagination and a widely appreciated melodic gift have attracted the attention of many leading performers.
Lera Auerbach, born in 1973 in Chelyabinsk, living in New York since 1991, a composer with a universal understanding of art – she writes poetry too, and painting whilst composing seems for her to belong quite naturally to the musical creative process – has created a composition virtually without precedents. She approached this task with an unbiased naturalness that is difficult to attain. Her artistic goal is as high as the heavens.
The opening night of Lera Auerbach’s first full-length opera “Gogol” at the Theater an der Wien was Literally a mad success. The audience did not only reward the Russian composer’s powerful work with enthusiastic applause, but also Christine Mielitz’s excellent production and the versatile RSO Vienna under Vladimir Fedoseyev.
The opera by the 38-year-old Russian girl Lera Auerbach premieres to rapturous applause. A triumphant, colourful work.
Ernst P Strobl, SALZBURGER NACHRICHTEN
The highly gifted Lera Auerbach has to be admired for her determination not to give in to any verdict of atonality, none of the fashion of serialism of the European avant-garde, but listens self-confidently to herself and her history, and from that creates a soundtrack for the inner sufferings of her protagonist.
Dirk Schümer, FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE ZEITUNG
With Auerbach’s “Gogol” the Theater an der Wien celebrates both a musically and scenically deserved success. Auerbach doesn’t deny Russian tradition – on the contrary; she plays with it.
The opera “Gogol” has received a triumphant premiere at Theater an der Wien, one of the Austrian capital’s leading theatres. The continuous applause and numerous curtain calls for both the singers and the creators of the work have lasted almost a quarter of an hour.
ITAR-TASS News Agency
The music rose up, delicately and almost seamlessly, behind the sound of church bells dying away. Men’s voices and an orchestra rich in colours were deployed for a devotion in the form of a requiem lasting a good hour – for settings of old and new prayers and the invocation “Lord, have mercy” in 40 languages. Lera Auerbach made the decision to believe that if she is writing a requiem in which peace reigns between the nations and religions, and if thousands hear it on Saturday in Dresden’s Frauenkirche and again today and tomorrow at the Semperoper, then this peace must also be feasible in real life.