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BY THE STREAMS OF BABYLON (2008)

Kati Agocs

"In By the Streams of Babylon, two sopranos (Agócs and Lisa Bielawa) lift Psalm 137 on phrases that leap and float, and sound both ancient and contemporary."

 – GRAMOPHONE MAGAZINE, October 2017 (Donald Rosenberg)


"For By the Streams of Babylon Agócs puts on her soprano hat, joining Lisa Bielawa for this delightful piece, a setting of Psalm 137. Using the Latin text, it narrates the grief of the Israelites in exile. The two voices blend superbly, their vocal lines weaving and hovering over the sumptuous orchestral musings."

– MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL, Recording of the Month/Review of The Debrecen Passion by Boston Modern Orchestra Project and Lorelei Ensemble, 17 September 2016 (Stephen Greenbank) 


"The newest member of the composition faculty, Kati Agócs, was represented by By the Streams of Babylon, for two sopranos and orchestra, a brief setting of Psalm 137 that encased the text's lament in music of fluidity and austere beauty." 


 - THE BOSTON GLOBE, Review of Boston Modern Orchestra Project with Kati Agócs and Lisa Bielawa as soprano soloists,  17 January 2009 (David Weininger)  


"Set in Latin for its liturgical significance (rather than in the Hebrew of the psalm), the work requires two sopranos to sing in straight tone, also evoking the history of medieval liturgy. The sopranos, Lisa Bielawa and the composer herself, captured this mysterious historicity with their gorgeously clear voices." 


- SUITE 101 CLASSICAL MUSIC PERFORMANCES, Review of Boston Modern Orchestra Project, January 2009 (Sarah Canice Funke) 


By the Streams of Babylon sets Psalm 137 in Latin. Sung by the composer, with fellow composer/soprano Lisa Bielawa, above a staccato instrumental accompaniment, the text follows scales upward and downward in a manner that evokes Philip Glass — rich text above simple (although not in this case minimalist) instrumentation. A delightful rising horn triplet serves as a outro cadence."

-WBUR'S THE ARTURY, "Composer-Performer Kati Agócs Intermingles Sacred and Secular in First Recording": Review of "The Debrecen Passion" by Boston Modern Orchestra Project, 21 January 2016 (Keith Powers)


"Equally impressive is her setting of Psalm 137, By the Streams of Babylon. This is a brief, straight and altogether beautiful rendition of the famous verse in which Kati and the acclaimed former member of the Philip Glass ensemble, Lisa Bielawa, sing wonderfully."

Audiophile Audition, Review of album The Debrecen Passion, 12 March 2016 (Daniel Coombs)


By the Streams of Babylon is a setting of a psalm, the lament of a people in a foreign land who can no longer bring themselves to sing the hymns of their homeland. The piece is haunting and reflective..." 

- THE DAILY GAZETTE (Schenectady, New York), Review of the The Albany Symphony Orchestra, Dogs of Desire Ensemble, 13 April 2008 (Bill Rice)