JÖRG WIDMANN (b.1973): Tränen der Musen for Clarinet, Violin and Piano, DANA BARAK (b.1987): Petite Suite for Clarinet (Bass Clarinet and Tambourine), Violin and Piano, ROGLIT ISHAY (b.1965): Poema for Violin Clarinet and Piano, BÉLA BARTÓK (1881-1945): Contrasts, IGOR STRAVINSKY (1882-1971): Suite from L’Histoire du Soldat.

Catalogue Number: 10X068

Label: Hännsler Classic

Reference: HC21017

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: This is an attractive and approachable, but serious and thought-provoking program of music around the themes of "exile, migration, expulsion and extinction" in 20th century history. The 23-year old Widmann's "Tears of the Muses" poses the question "Do the Muses have the right to remain silent when the weapons speak?” - to which the answer is very evidently "no". This impassioned work begins with an eloquent, lamenting clarinet solo, to which the violin responds in a desolate dialogue. The piano enters with gently tolling bells, and the music explores the themes already presented in a slow, sad meditation. An Eastern-European folk passage tries to assert itself, to be violently dismissed, leading to a furious klezmer-inflected central section. The bells tentatively re-emerge, accompanying the hushed, desolate conclusion of the work. In keeping with the subtext of the CD program, tracing the path of Jewish artists forced out of their European homes by various calamities in the 20th century, Barak's suite celebrates two such, composer Mordechai Zeira (1905-1968) and poet Yaakov Orland (1914-2002). The work comprises transcriptions of three of Zeira's many Israeli songs (can we have some more, please?). The melodies are absolutely gorgeous, the arrangements utterly delicious and brilliantly inventive. Each movement is effectively variations, like verses of the poems, but with a huge variety of stylistic references, reflecting the polyglot background of lyricist and song composer. The melodies are very Jewish; the arrangements reflect European Romanticism and folk musics, jazz, klezmer, and in the middle movement, ornamentation that evokes an Arabic Maqam, derived from the performing style of Jews from Arabic countries who settled in British Palestine (as it was then). Subtle, clever bits of "alternative" playing here and there wittily emulate the timbres of accompanying instruments in a traditional band. Pianist-composer Ishay's Poema is dedicated to the inhabitants of the French village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, who saved between 3000 and 5000 Jews from all over Europe from the Holocaust. The work is sumptuously neo-romantic, with contrasting dramatic and tender themes, a triumphant climax, and a pensive close. Nitzan Bartana (violin), Dana Barak (clarinet), Roglit Ishay (piano).


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