In A Dark Wood

A Journey Through Mathew Rosenblum's Lament/Witches' Sabbath
(2018, 82 minutes, Dir. David Bernabo)



Following a musical composition from the writing stage to the world premiere to the first recording, In A Dark Wood charts the path of composer Mathew Rosenblum’s Lament/Witches’ Sabbath, a highly personal concerto written for world famous clarinetist/composer David Krakauer.

“This project is very close to me,” says Rosenblum. “It involves the re-writing of my personal and family history through instrumental sound--klezmer-tinged clarinet with orchestra--and the sound and texture of the voice--field recordings of Ukrainian laments; sung and spoken Ukrainian, Russian, and Yiddish text by my grandmother.”

Flitting between Pittsburgh, New York City, and time with the legendary Boston Modern Orchestra Project in Boston, the film alternates between the friendship of Rosenblum and Krakauer, originating against the backdrop of the wealth of access to jazz music in 1970s New York City, a time where any number of styles from different eras commingled and bled into each other, and Rosenblum’s relationship and remembrance of his grandmother and her story.

“The work is about migration, loss, memory, and cultural transformation, says Rosenblum. “It is a tribute to my grandmother, Bella Liss.” Unavoidably positioned against the hatred and bigotry of Trump’s presidency, the story of Rosenblum’s grandmother’s flight from Ukraine is one of resistance, tolerance, and compassion.

“My family fled Proskurov, Ukraine in 1919, during the well-documented massacre in that town. My grandmother witnessed many killings in the town square, gave birth to my mother in the woods while fleeing the massacre, and told this incredible story to us in what I now realize was an Eastern European lament style – part song, sobbing, and speaking.”

Rewarding and detailed enough for musicians and composers and accessible to a wider audience, In A Dark Wood is a story of the endurance of family, the winding path of friendship, and the craft of composing music.

 Mathew Rosenblum

Mathew Rosenblum

 David Krakauer

David Krakauer


April 30 | JFilm Festival | Pittsburgh, PA



If you would like to host a screening, please contact David Bernabo through this page.


Mathew Rosenblum
David Krakauer
Gil Rose



Directed by David Bernabo
Produced by Ongoing Box