The ECM New Series debut of Israeli composer Gideon Lewensohn, 'Odradek' is comprised entirely of premiere recordings. Lewensohn is increasingly recognised as one of the freshest voices in contemporary music and the title piece from this album, the 'Odradek Quartet' won First Prize in the International Competition of the Italian Academy of Arts and Letters. Lewensohn's music defies easy categorisation. It is by turns, playful, serious, ironic, caustic, beautiful. The composer defines his own role as that of a commentator on culture - sometimes from a specifically Jewish perspective - and the range of musical-historical references in the work is vast. In his compositions, Lewnsohn pays tribute to Kurtág, Kancheli, Lutoslawski, Shostakovich, Bartók, Mahler, Rochberg, the Hilliard Ensemble, ragtime composer Scott Joplin and many others.
"Gideon is an oratorio put together after Handel’s death by John Christopher Smith, son of the composer’s long-serving secretary and copyist of the same name…One thing should be made plain at once about Gideon (and this, I fear, constitutes a slap on the wrist for Naxos): the balance of materials included by the younger Smith is, on the evidence of Naxos’s own booklet, not at all as described in the blurb on the back of the box. There, we are told “The 1769 oratorio Gideon, with a new libretto by Handel’s former collaborator Thomas Morell, uses music largely drawn from Handel’s work, sacred and secular, with a lesser number of elements by Smith himself.”