Saved: A trove of Jewish music that defied Nazis 

A rich trove of music created by Jewish artists under the Nazis is to be revealed in a new radio series. 

Presented by Jewish historian Shirli Gilbert of University College London (UCL), Music That Survived The Nazis is inspired by a recently digitised cache of songs recorded by two Jewish labels from Berlin in the Thirties, Semer and Lukraphon.

Both operated legally, but became subject to growing restrictions.

Semer and its founder, Hirsch Lewin, were targeted on Kristallnacht. Moritz Lewin, founder of Lukraphon, fled Germany in 1937.

The recordings were uncovered and restored by expert Rainer Erich Lotz.

Read the rest at The Jewish Chronicle.

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The ARC Ensemble performs the suppressed works of Ukrainian master composer

For the first time ever in North America, the ARC Ensemble will be performing one of the great musical discoveries of the past 50 years, the suppressed works of Ukrainian master composer, Dmitri Klebanov.

The concert will be recorded by CBC Radio for a national broadcast.

Concert information:

The Music of Dmitri Klebanov

Sunday, November 17, 2019, at 7:30 PM

The Royal Conservatory’s Mazzoleni Hall
273 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1V6, Canada

Tickets are complimentary but must be reserved ahead of time. To reserve your tickets, please click on this link. For more information about the concert and the composer, click here.

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The music of the historic Zimro Ensemble at Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival

Cellist Aron Zelkowicz, the founder and director of the Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival, has chosen the centenary anniversary to celebrate the historic Zimro Ensemble:

Formed in 1918 in St. Petersburg, Russia, by the clarinetist Simeon Bellison, the Zimro Ensemble introduced the world to Jewish concert works created during the previous decade. This innovative and exotic music combined folk themes and liturgical works to create a music that was proudly nationalistic with strong Zionist themes. The sextet’s name spoke to its Jewish roots, combining the Hebrew word for “singing” and an amalgam of letters from the word “klezmer.”

Organized by the Society for Jewish Folk Music, the curious project existed for only three years. It made its American debut at a Zionist conference in Chicago almost 100 years ago on Sept. 17, 1919. According to cellist Aron Zelkowicz, the tour was a fundraiser “to raise money for a ‘temple of Jewish art’ in what was then Palestine. The musicians ended up immigrating to the United States and never made it to Israel.”

Read more at the Jewish Chronicle.

The Pittsburgh concert, titled “In the Footsteps of the Zimro Ensemble,” is Sunday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. at Rodef Shalom Congregation (4905 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213).

Pro Musica Hebraica’s Hanukkah 2013 concert, The Voice of the Clarinet in Jewish Classical Music featuring clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein, was the first to extensively showcase the early-20th-century work stored at the Bellison Archive. The bulk of the program featured newly recovered manuscripts from Bellison’s archive at the Jerusalem Conservatory, including his arrangements of works by Joel Engel, Jacob Weinberg, and Samuel Gardner based on Yiddish folk songs and virtuoso folk masterpieces drawn directly from the klezmer repertoire of the pre-World War I East European Jewish shtetl.
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Yiddish Classical Music in America

From New Music USA:

There is a saying that a language is a dialect with an army and a navy. Yiddish, the historic language of Central and East European Jewry, never had either and suffered miscategorization as a jargon and corruption of German. On the contrary, Yiddish is an extraordinarily rich language with a remarkable literary and folk culture. It is a fusion of medieval Germanic dialects with Hebrew and Aramaic, and components drawn from other language families as well. It is written with the Hebrew Alphabet (from right to left), has its own grammar, and a variety of regional dialects.

Read the rest.

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Review: WEINBERG Symphonies – Nos 2 & 21,‘Kaddish’ (Gražinytė-Tyla)

From Gramophone:

The UK premiere of Symphony No 21 in Symphony Hall last November was a watershed moment for Weinberg’s reputation. It actually proved two things I wouldn’t have dared to predict: that one of his longest symphonies (55 minutes, six movements without a break, composed in 1991) could hold a full-size regular concert audience enthralled from first note to last, and that it could comfortably withstand the comparison with Shostakovich’s Fifteenth in the second half. The appearance of this performance on a major prestige label will surely prove one of the highlights of this, his centenary year.

The work has a multi-resonance back-story. It is dedicated to the victims of the Warsaw Ghetto, where Weinberg often said his parents and sister died (though where they actually perished is less than clear) and subtitled Kaddish after the Jewish prayer traditionally recited in memory of the dead. 

Read the rest here.

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