Charles Krauthammer, Pro Musica Hebraica’s chairman, responds to Edward Rothstein’s essay on Pro Musica Hebraica and the meaning of Jewish music:
This is the seventeenth concert presented by Pro Musica Hebraica. We have presented music ranging from the baroque Jewish music of 17th-century Italy and Amsterdam to Osvaldo Golijov’s 1994 The Dreams & Prayers of Isaac the Blind. These compositions are imbued with themes—liturgical, folkloric, biblical, historical—that make them Jewish not in the ghettoized sense of appealing only to one ethnicity or history, but Jewish in the same way that Béla Bartók’s music is Hungarian: universal, but with a sensibility and rootedness that give it a distinctive identity.
Read the rest of Krauthammer’s response, including Rothstein’s rejoinder, on Mosaic‘s website.
Edward Rothstein reviews our latest concert, Before The Night: Jewish Classical Masterpieces of Pre-1933 Europe, featuring the ARC Ensemble:
[T]he pieces themselves, beautifully played by the Canadian-based ARC Ensemble, make no allusions to the Jewish origins of the composers; nor do they hint at how Saletski’s phrase fits these figures, all three of whom, in fleeing the Nazis, took a path that ultimately led from their respective nations of birth—Poland, Italy, and Austria—to the United States…..So here we have three finely crafted and intriguing works, each showing the influence of a different national style (Polish, Italian, Austrian) and each displaying unusual mastery.
Read the rest on Mosaic‘s website.
On June 3, ZEMER CHAI: The Jewish Chorale of the Nation’s Capital will perform their 39th annual spring concert, “When Music Speaks, Worlds Open,” at Ohr Kodesh Congregation in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Their program will include a work familiar to Pro Musica Hebraica concert-goers — Steve Cohen’s 2009 choral piece, Adonai Malach (Psalm 97). Here are the details:
ZEMER CHAI: The Jewish Chorale of the Nation’s Capital
39th Annual Spring Concert
“When Music Speaks, Worlds Open”
Wednesday, June 3 at 8 PM
Ohr Kodesh Congregation
8300 Meadowbrook Lane
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
TICKETS $20 (General Admission) and $40 (Reserved Section)
Monday, May 4, at 9pm on WETA FM: WETA’s Front Row Washington will broadcast Pro Musica Hebraica’s acclaimed Spring 2014 concert, featuring Evgeny Kissin’s “stunning performance” (The Washington Post).
If you’re within range in DC, you can listen live on WETA 90.9 FM. If you reside elsewhere, you can listen live on WETA’s website.
For more details about the concert — including English translations of the Yiddish poems — see below.
James Loeffler, associate professor of history at the University of Virginia and scholar-in-residence at Pro Musica Hebraica, has a new essay in Mosaic:
Wagner used the figure of the Jew to criticize the ills of his own society. He built his vision of the German future by imagining a world in which Jews vanish. In doing so, as I have argued elsewhere, he bequeathed a racial myth to modern music that has still not received its full reckoning.[…]
The fact that an Israeli Jew is defending Wagner is not incidental. For it is in Israel that we can see the clearest way in which Jews today map their own meanings onto Wagner. It is there that Wagner has become a proxy for Jews arguing about cultural identity and Holocaust memory in an otherwise fluid, globalizing musical marketplace.
Read the rest here.