The Strad: The ARC Ensemble’s Fitelberg album is first-class music, well played and recorded.

The Strad reviews the ARC Ensemble’s Chamber Works by Jerzy Fitelberg:

[T]hese are all premiere recordings of fine music. The ARC Ensemble does the composer proud.  The First Quartet, written in 1926, opens and closes with a Presto full of motoric bustle, with an interlude for some quirky, wistful violin playing from Erika Raum. In the three inner movements, full of innovative writing and colourful textures, the playing is neat and often exuberant.[…] This is a disc worth hearing: first-class music, well played and recorded.

The ARC Ensemble’s recent album includes Fitelberg’s String Quartet No. 2 (1928), which the ARC Ensemble performed in Pro Musica Hebraica’s Spring 2015 concert.

The recordings are available on Amazon.

Leave a comment

The Astonishing History of Shostakovich’s Symphony No 7

 

From The Guardian:

All of these criticisms, which continue today – the composer and writer Robin Holloway, for example, describes Shostakovich as “music to rouse rabble, to be seen from far away like slogans in letters 30 feet high, music without inner musical necessity” – stem from a particular interpretation of Shostakovich: his compositional crudity, his supposedly simplistic contrasts of material, colour and texture, and his unashamed desire to communicate.

Yet there is a deep sophistication in what Shostakovich is doing in this piece at precisely the moments when its surfaces seem the most banal. The innocent but insidious tune that blows apart the first movement is designed to be as mundane as possible. It’s an image of how the most mediocre and unthinking idea – or person – can inflict the greatest devastation. Shostakovich was revealing and realising an abiding truth of all ideological tyrannies. As he told a friend after he finished the symphony, one of its themes is “fascism. But music, real music, can never be literally tied to a theme. National Socialism is not the only form of fascism; this music is about all forms of terror, slavery, the bondage of the spirit.”

Read the rest.

Comments Off on The Astonishing History of Shostakovich’s Symphony No 7

The New York Times on Kissin’s “brilliant” performance at Carnegie Hall

On Wednesday, Evgeny Kissin took his Carnegie Hall audience on a tour of Jewish heritage, brilliantly performing the works of great Jewish composers–Ernest Bloch, Alexander Veprik and Alexander Krein–and beautifully reciting the Yiddish poems of Yitzhak Leybush Peretz. The New York Times reviews the concert:

Here was a classical-music superstar revealing profoundly personal connections to a rich heritage. I left the hall with newfound intellectual respect and personal regard for this dedicated artist.

The Carnegie program follows Kissin’s “stunning performance” at Pro Musica Hebraica’s February 2014 concert, An Evening of Jewish Music and Poetry. The Forward recently recounted Kissin’s journey to becoming a “one-man Yiddish pride movement.”

Comments Off on The New York Times on Kissin’s “brilliant” performance at Carnegie Hall

The Forward: How Evgeny Kissin Became a One-Man Yiddish Pride Movement

Writing in The Forward, Allan M. Jalon describes how Evgeny Kissin’s “commitment to sharing Yiddish culture” deepened with Pro Musica Hebraica’s Spring 2014 concert at the Kennedy Center:

Word that he’s a one-man Yiddish Pride Movement has spread more recently, especially since he appeared at the Kennedy Center in 2014 for a program of music by Jewish composers and poems by the classic Yiddish poets Chaim Nachman Bialik and I. L. Peretz. He declaimed them by memory, his speaking voice an instrument both rich and, at times, hauntingly tender…

Kissin has performed Yiddish poetry before, and his website has videos of him reading at the Verbier Festival, in Switzerland, in 2006. But the sold-out Kennedy Center event took it to a new level.

Read the rest to learn about the fascinating origins of Kissin’s love of Yiddish poetry and how it found expression in his collaboration with Pro Musica Hebraica.

Comments Off on The Forward: How Evgeny Kissin Became a One-Man Yiddish Pride Movement

Boston Globe: ARC Ensemble’s Fitelberg recording one of the best classical albums of 2015

Reviewing the best classical albums of the year, the Boston Globe’s Jeremy Eichler names Chamber Works by Jerzy Fitelberg by ARC Ensemble (Artists of the Royal Conservatory of Canada) the “biggest surprise” of the year:

Thanks to the ARC Ensemble for retrieving another forgotten modern voice. In these premiere recordings, one discovers the piquant and surprisingly distinctive sound world of Fitelberg, showing once more how many worthy scores remain to be excavated from the rubble of a century.

The ARC Ensemble’s recent album includes Fitelberg’s String Quartet No. 2 (1928), which the ARC Ensemble performed in Pro Musica Hebraica’s Spring 2015 concert.

The recordings are available on Amazon.

Comments Off on Boston Globe: ARC Ensemble’s Fitelberg recording one of the best classical albums of 2015