O Lungo Drom (The Long Road) ~ An Oratorio on the Sinti and Roma People ~

O Lungo Drom translates as “the Long Road” in Romanes. This large-scale work, scored for a chamber ensemble including soprano, baritone, flute, clarinet, cimbalom, piano and string quartet, integrates texts from all around the world into an oratorio to create a Lied of the scattered Sinti and Roma. Members of the minority have lived in Europe for over 700 years.  Since that time, they have been subjected to constant discrimination and persecution – punctuated by infernal periods of enslavement and genocide.

“The Long Road” is a road of longing, of yearning, a path that leads to and from remembrance; each step and footprint on this road, imbued with a profound sense of Fernweh, embraces hope and beauty through resilience and consolation. O Lungo Drom sets the words of thirteen different poets from this minority in ten languages and Romanes dialects, organized in a tripartite narrative:

I. Ascent – II. Nadir – III. Vista

Each of the three different narrative perspectives presented in the libretto of the multinational Sinti and Roma family is associated with specific ensemble groupings that produce timbral threads between diverse texts and languages. 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, desire, remorse and exultation through rhapsodic, bittersweet, elegiac and introspective lyricism. O Lungo Drom testifies to a collective identity through the prism of many voices of Sinti and Roma as citizens of different European countries. The work’s first words ring forth as a proud, encompassing and celebratory edifice to Sinti and Roma identity. They also encapsulate my own personal testimonial and confession:

Madre del alma       Mother of my soul

Nací Gitano       Romani I am

R.Y. Gawlick


O Lungo Drom (The Long Road)
~ An Oratorio on the Sinti and Roma People ~

Ralf Yusuf Gawlick, composer

Polish première

Clara Meloni, soprano

Christoph Filler, baritone

László Rácz, cimbalom

Alban Berg Ensemble Wien

Thursday, August 1, 2024

Krakow Philharmonic Hall

8:00 PM

-Reception to follow-

CD Booklet available on Universal Music Group/ Decca Eloquence

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The Long and Boundless Road

Inspired by Ralf Yusuf Gawlick’s O Lungo Drom (The Long Road), an oratorio on the Sinti and Roma people, classical pianist and author Simon Tedeschi reflects on the power of art in LIMELIGHT, a Music, Arts & Culture Magazine.

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