Pianist Jascha Nemtsov plays folk-influenced music by Jewish composers

  • The Washington Post

While Schoenberg and his like-minded musical thinkers were deconstructing tonality in the 1920s and ’30s, other composers (Kodaly and Bartok, to name just two) were rediscovering and reveling in the folk music of their respective homelands — and Bartok had feet in both worlds. On Thursday — under the sponsorship of Charles Krauthammer’s organization, the Pro Musica Hebraica — pianist Jascha Nemtsov, joined by cellist Julian Arp, violinist Frank Reinecke and clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein, offered a well-researched program of folk-influenced music by little-known Jewish composers of that inter-war period at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater.
Although a tang of dissonance, discretely applied, flavored most of what went on, only Joachim Stutschewsky seemed to draw more widely from hints of jazz and blues to color his harmonies, and his “Jewish Song” and “Freilachs” for piano and cello that opened the program were, in turn, lyrically wry and joyous. The rest reflected romantic longing and peasant energy, the imperatives of both dance and religion and a reverence for history, all couched in the modality and the emphatic rhythms that characterize so much of what we recognize as a Jewish musical tradition.

Continue Reading Pianist Jascha Nemtsov plays folk-influenced music by Jewish composers on The Washington Post »