The Strad called the ARC Ensemble’s recent album of Polish-American composer Jerzy Fitelberg’s chamber works “first-class music, well played and recorded.” The Boston Globe named it one of the top classical albums of 2015.
And now, the album is recognized in the 2017 Grammy’s category of Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance.
The album includes Fitelberg’s String Quartet No. 2 (1928), which the ARC Ensemble performed in Pro Musica Hebraica’s Spring 2015 concert at the Kennedy Center, Before The Night: Jewish Classical Masterpieces of Pre-1933 Europe.
Pro Musica Hebraica’s concert at the Kennedy Center came more than six decades after Fitelberg’s death and a long period when his work was virtually ignored. (You can read the Playbill notes on him here.)
As the ARC Ensemble’s artistic director, Simon Wynberg, explains in Mosaic, the neglect of Fitelberg had much more to do with ideological politics than artistic merit:
In the case of Jewish composers banned during the Hitler years, exclusion generally had nothing to do with the nature or quality of their music. It was the Reich’s unhinged racial ideology that defined them as artistically worthless and—in daring to participate in a tradition to which they allegedly had no right to belong—fraudulent as well.[…]
But the work of first-rate composers like Jerzy Fitelberg, whose journey into oblivion was the direct result of nothing but ideological politics, speaks for itself, and deserves its rightful place in the firmament of musical art.
Thanks to Wynberg and the ARC Ensemble, Fitelberg’s rightful place in the firmament can no longer be questioned.