Concert in NYC: “Night of the Murdered Poets” with Sofie Van Lier and Dimitri Dove

Congress for Jewish Culture has organized a memorial concert honoring  the Yiddish poets murdered in the Soviet Union. The concert will take place on Tuesday, August 12th, at 6:30 PM at YIVO, Center for Jewish History (15 West 16th Street, NYC, NY 10011).
The featured works are:
Mikhail Gnesin – Jewish Songs, Op. 37
Mieczyslaw Weinberg – Jewish Songs, 2nd Cycle to Lyrics by Shmuel Halkin , Op. 17
Dmitri Shostakovich – Prelude and Fuge No. 8 in F-Sharp Minor, Op. 87, and selected songs from “From Jewish Folk Poetry”, Op. 79  (in Yiddish)
Veniamin Basner – Three fragments from the musical “Jewish Luck”

Professor Tom Bird of Queens College, CUNY, will deliver opening remarks. Admission is free, but reservations are required and can be made at the YIVO/CJH website:

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Evgeny Kissin at Verbier Festival

Following PMH’s widely acclaimed concert at The Kennedy Center, Evgeny Kissin continues to use his gifts to give new life to Jewish music. Last week, he performed works by Bloch, Krein, and Weinberg at the Swiss ski resort of Verbier, where a three-week-long music festival draws some of the world’s elite musical geniuses.

BBC Music Magazine interviewed Kissin in Verbier about performing Jewish piano music. You can listen to it at their website.



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“Weinberg, stepping out of history’s shadows”

The Boston Globe‘s Jeremy Eichler writes:

Weinberg (1919-1996) is surely the most fascinating Soviet-era composer that most Western listeners, until a decade ago, had never heard of. He chose this Blok poem for a song cycle called “Beyond the Border of Past Days,” a title that also hints at the forces of memory that shaped Weinberg’s own life and his almost surreally prolific career writing music in the shadow of catastrophe.

Read the rest here.

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James Loeffler: Wagner’s Anti-Semitism Still Matters

Pro Musica Hebraica Resident Scholar, James Loeffler, writes in the The New Republic:

What are we to do with Wagner’s anti-Semitism? The recent Wagner anniversary has brought a predictable amount of equivocation and hand-wringing about the German master’s role in the history of hate. We know by now not to read history backward. A nineteenth-century composer who died in 1883 cannot logically be accused of personal complicity in a twentieth-century genocide. Yet that does not mean that the broader question of his responsibility for the spread of modern anti-Semitism can be simply ignored. 

Read the whole thing.

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Mieczyslaw Weinberg – BBC Radio 3’s Composer Of The Week

This week, BBC Radio 3 celebrates the life and work of twentieth-century master Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996), a Polish Jewish émigré to the Soviet Union whose music has frequently drawn comparisons to his friend and mentor, Dmitri Shostakovich. Visit BBC Radio 3’s website for more information about this week’s episodes, presented by Donald Macleod.

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