In Sleep The World Is Yours, was commissioned by Music of Remembrance, and sets 3 poems by the young poet Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger, who tragically died in a Nazi labor camp at the age of 18. Scored for soprano, oboe and piano, this 18 minute work was released on the Naxos label in May 2016, on a CD with the one-act opera, After Life, with music by Tom Cipullo and libretto by David Mason. The cycle is performed by soprano Megan Chenovick, oboist Benjamin Hausmann and pianist Mina Miller.
Excerpts of reviews below...
"Laitman, who uses the unusual combination of soprano, oboe and piano for this cycle, seems deeply connected to the words, which are clear and straightforward but brimming with emotion. Her melodic and lyrical music is enveloping but also imaginative and penetrating, especially in the concluding "Tragedy," in which the poet realizes she will "fade like smoke and leave no trace." Megan Chenovick matches Laitman's empathy with her comforting, nuanced soprano. Benjamin Hausmann (oboe) and Mina Miller (piano) contribute with sensitivity. The poet's voice in these three songs and the Girl in Cipullo's After Life resonate movingly and meaningfully with each other." (Joshua Rosenblum, Opera News, July 2016)
"Laitman chose three poems and set them for soprano, oboe and piano. The first, "Lullaby," holds a bittersweet element in that it was dreams that held the only available escape for some in those days...Laitman's writing reflects this unease within what is traditionally a form that provides a feeling of safety. The active beginning to "Yes," the second poem to be set, reflects feelings of distance between loved ones; the music softens as the realization that it is memories that hold the key to closeness sinks in. The writing for oboe here seems particularly poignant, adding its own florid commentary. Finally, there comes "Tragedy." The words are heartbreaking, and worth quoting in full: "This is the hardest: to give yourself away/and then to see that no-one needs you, to give all of yourself and realize/you'll fade like smoke and leave no trace." The singer initially can hardly get past the first word, "This," and here, the piano and oboe parts are at their most fragmentary. It is telling that this poem has the least text of all three poems, but Laitman accords it the longest setting. Megan Chenovick, superb through, really allows her voice to soar in this final offering, while Benjamin Hausmann's poignant pipings add an extra layer of regret for what might have been for this talented young poet whose voice was cruelly ended at far too early an age." (Colin Clarke, Fanfare Magazine, July 2016)
"Lori Laitman's 18 minute In Sleep The World Is Yours is a simpler, more profoundly distilled response to the Holocaust in the form of a mother-and-child song-cycle set to elegiac lyrics by Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger, dead at 18 at a Nazi camp in Ukraine." (Laurence Vittes, Gramophone Magazine, May 2016)