JMI Newsletter No. 4
Suppressed Music Edition
Worldwide Interest in Suppressed Music
Nick Kimberley writes in The Observer of 27 May 2001: 'The Nazis tore a gaping hole in European Culture and history still hasn't repaired the damage. In uncovering a work like the string trio by Gideon Klein, the Andrusier (Ensemble) is doing its bit for the restoration process. This 15 minute piece had a controlled exuberance, and expressive tension that suggested a distinctive musical talent, but Klein died in a concentration camp in 1945, aged 26. In a different world he might still be composing.'
There were insatiable audiences in Klein's native Czechoslovakia and in Germany and Austria in the 1920s and 30s for the exciting new music being written by avant garde, yet tonal, composers. New works were eagerly anticipated and operas received numerous productions in their first years. But with the coming of Hitler, music by these composers was banned and very nearly obliterated. The lucky ones escaped with their lives, but in different environments, they were not able to achieve the heights to which they seemed destined.
Great interest is now being shown around the world, in this music by European composers who successfully combined tradition with modernity. Last year Michael Haas (who unearthed music by composers such as Goldschmidt, Schreker, Krenek, Rathaus, Schulhoff, Korngold and others and created for Decca a groundbreaking series, 'Entartete Musik') was invited to be an Artistic Director of 'Musica Prohibida' a two-week Festival in Barcelona, conducted by Laurence Foster. This year he and Erik Levi, author of 'Music in the Third Reich' were invited to speak at an 'Entartete Musik' conference in Charlottesville, Virginia.
BBC Proms chooses 'Exile' as one of its themes
Even this year's Proms season has the theme of 'Exiles', especially from two great political convulsions that caused composers to seek safely beyond the borders of their homelands: the Russian Revolution and the Fascist seizures of power across Europe.
For the Jewish Music Institute, (JMI), this era and this music are especially poignant, as so many of the composers as well as the conductors and musicians involved were Jews. In September 1999, JMI established the International Forum for Suppressed Music (IFSM) as a platform to bring together all those working in the field. In July 2000 JMI held an influential Conference 'Thwarted Voices' at London University, on the composition students of Franz Schreker in Berlin in the 1920s. The Andrusier Ensemble performed a revelatory programme at St John's, Smith Square, of Schreker, Krenek, Goldschmdit and Rathaus, of which the concert reviewed above, part of the Hampstead and Highgate Festival, was a direct result.
The JMI International Forum for Suppressed Music is in the forefront of research, education, publication, recording, performance and communication of information on this vast range of forbidden music. The Executive Committee includes Michael Haas, Erik Levi, and Martin Anderson, journalist, writer and publisher. Members of the Advisory Board include Christopher Hailey of the Schreker Foundation LA, and the Schoenberg Institut Vienna and Albrecht Dümling of Musica Reanimata Berlin. Sir Simon Rattle has honoured JMI by becoming the President of this Forum (see Sir Simon's message on page 2).
In November 2001, JMI IFSM mounts a whole day of Suppressed Music at the South Bank featuring vocal, chamber and orchestral music as well as the first British performance of Max Brand's 1929 smash hit opera 'Maschinist Hopkins'.
Maschinist Hopkins Première
Part of JMI South Bank Day devoted to Suppressed music
On Sunday 25 November 2001, JMI is presenting six events at the Purcell Room and Queen Elizabeth Hall from 10.00am10.00pm.
At 2.00pm in the Queen Elizabeth Hall, JMI presents the first British performance of Max Brand's magnificent popular opera Maschinist Hopkins, which still seems relevant as well as avant-garde today, after over 70 years. The day's events start with an introduction by Michael Haas, Executive Producer of the 'Entartete Musik' Series on Decca Records, to the era, the composers and the music. Then follow recitals of lieder by acclaimed singers and chamber works by the world renowned Vienna Piano Trio, a recital of Cabaret songs and a concert by the Yehudi Menuhin School Orchestra, chamber ensembles and soloists.
Machinist Hopkins an opera in three Acts, written in 1929, with a powerful text by the composer was written in a period, which saw an unprecedented number of new operas staged in Germany. Krenek's Jonny Spielt Auf took Europe by storm as people heard the first opera with a contemporary setting, based on contemporary people. The success of Jonny was repeated soon thereafter with Max Brand's Maschinist Hopkins, a work that matched Jonny's success with 40 different productions in one year alone. The work's contemporary metropolitan setting and 'American' characters were much in vogue. Brand's themethe relationship between humanity and technologywas familiar through such works as Fritz Lang's film Metropolis (1926) and was the focus of experiments at the Bauhaus. Brand, like Krenek, Weill and Hindemith, advocated a regeneration of opera by using the most characteristic features of the day. Posing social and humanitarian questions in a combination of thriller and romance, Brand presents events cinematically, using colourful orchestration to enhance the emotional impact of the drama, fully exploiting the stylistic palette of his day. The opera is being presented by Cambridge University Opera Society in collaboration with Baker's Opera, and the Cambridge University Opera Orchestra conducted by Peter Tregear. Barry Humphreys (better known as 'Dame Edna') who has a strong personal interest in this music has agreed to be a Patron of this special day.
Programme for Day of Suppressed Music
10.0011.00am, QEH Foyer
11.30am1.30pm, Purcell Room
2.004.30pm, Queen Elizabeth Hall
5.007.00pm, Purcell Room
8.0010.00pm, Purcell Room
8.0010.00pm, Queen Elizabeth Hall
Tickets: £18.50£8.50, available from September from the Box office 020 7960 4242 or book online at www.sbc.org.uk
This day is associated with a season 'Vienna-Berlin-London: Trails of Creativity 19181938', organised by The Austrian Cultural Institute, London.
Email newsletter for Suppressed Music
Message from Sir Simon Rattle to Launch the Newsletter:
Recording Oral Testimony
Expansion of IFSM
The establishment of this JMI Forum, and the development of its work, is meeting the needs of audiences, musicians, promoters and scholars the world over.
JMI SOAS Millennium Awards
Applications are being received for innovative projects in Jewish Music, from organising street concerts in Totnes to writing a new work for symphony orchestra. To apply for an average of £2500, you need to be an individual over 16. Your project needs to be completed within twelve months, be a contribution to your personal growth and be of benefit to your own or the wider community Tel 020 7898 4307.
Bevis Marks Tercentary Concerts
As part of the Bevis Marks Synagogue tercentenary celebrations, JMI presents a rare opportunity to hear three of the world's greatest cantors in two outstanding programmes of the music of Sepharad and the music of the Synagogue, as well as a children's Chanukah concert showing the way to the next 300 years of Jewish life in London.
Sons of Sepharad
Aaron Bensoussan, born in Morocco, is one of the few masters of both Sephardi and Ashkenaz cantorial styles. His soaring lyric tenor blends florid Middle Eastern melisma with pure Italian Bel Canto. He is also a virtuoso player of the oud (Middle Eastern Lute), spicing the Sons of Sepharad's performances with invigorating oriental rhythms and improvisations.
Gerard Edery, also Moroccan, is a classically trained baritone who brings a vibrant sound and expressive urgency to an immense repertoire of Judeo-Spanish songs (he was honored with the 1997 Sephardic Musical Heritage Award). With his masterly guitar playing and gift for infusing modern harmonies into complex elaborations of traditional music, he serves as the backbone of the group.
Alberto Mizrahi, born in Greece, is widely regarded as one of the finest cantors in the world. His heritage, which encompasses Greek and Turkish liturgy as well as songs in Ladino and Hebrew, lends yet another congeries of unique styles to the Sons of Sepharad. With his powerful, yet highly nuanced tenor, he interweaves intricate countermelodies through the ensemble texture, in tones that evoke now a trumpet, now a flute.
George Mgrdichian, oudist, was described by Robert Sherman of The New York Times as 'The world's unquestioned master player of the oud!'; by Richard Shepard, also of the Times as 'the best exponent of the oud, the stringed instrument of the Middle east of which he is an acknowledged master.'
Rex Benincasa contributes an immense instrumental and rhythmic versatility to the Sons of Sepharad. One of the most sought after percussionists in the New York area, he feels equally at home in Flamenco, Middle Eastern Music or Jazz and has previously performed this repertoire with Gerard Edery on several continents.
'Alberto Mizrahi's voice is rich, vibrant, powerful ... a striking performer ...' (Boston Globe)
Hear Our Voice: The Song in Prayer
Tickets for these concerts, will be reserved and numbered tickets and will be on sale from September at £20 and £25.
Chanukah Candles: the Voice of the Future
Tickets: for the childrens concert are £15 with concessions of £5 for children.
Early Booking for Friends of JMI
Shtetl Conference, UCL 1921 June 2001
This three day conference focuses on the shtetl (Yiddish term for a small town) and its importance in the tradition, history and folklore of Jewish life in Poland, Lithuania and other parts of Eastern Europe. For more details and registration contact the organisers, the Institute of Jewish Studies University College London Tel 020 7697 3520.
Sephardi Conference, UCL 2426 June 2001
Friends of JMI are invited to join the Sephardi conference at UCL taking place from Sunday 24 June to Tuesday 26 June. On Monday 25 June there will be a reception dinner and concert from 6.45pm to 9pm. Professor Edwin Seroussi will be talking about Sephardi Music in the afternoon. For details about attendance at some of all of this, please telephone the conference Administrator, Sara Martin at 020 7679 3520. This conference is organised by Hilary Pomeroy.
JMI KlezFest London 14 July 2001
Registrations from all over
Concerts each night
An Act of Reconciliation in Gloucester Cathedral
A special Act of Reconciliation and Repentance will take place in Gloucester Cathedral on Sunday 5 August at 6.00pm. This is being organised by The Reverend Canon Neil Heavisides, the Precentor of the Cathedral in collaboration with Reverend Malcolm Weisman, chief Rabbi's Minister for Small Jewish Communities.
JMI invites you to join us at this historic event. We go by coach from Golder's Green, and spend an interesting day with a stopover in Cheltenham Spa meeting with the vibrant Jewish community there for lunch at the beautiful Queen's Hotel overlooking the Imperial Gardens. We will have a guided visit to the historic Regency Synagogue, a grade II listed building with a talk by Michael Webber, Chairman of the Cheltenham Jewish Community. We will then be welcomed at Gloucester, taken on a special tour of the Cathedral and given tea before attending the Ceremony.
The cost of the coach from London, lunch, tea and snack supper on the way home will be £38.50 per person. (£35 for Friends of JMI). If you are taking the opportunity of a weekend in the Cotswolds or coming from elsewhere in the UK, you can join us for lunch and the programme for the rest of the day. Subtract £10.00 (coach and snack supper) from the cost. Booking is now open, and please book early to be sure of a place. Call JMI on 020 8909 2445.
Friends of JMI for 2001
The Diamond earstuds were won by Reverend B Koshland in a draw on 30 March, the first anniversary of the establishment of the Jewish Music Institute at SOAS. Thank you all for entering the draw. There are still benefits to joining the friends for this year such as discounts on some tickets and receiving this summer newsletter, which only goes to paid up friends.
If you membership has lapsed, please consider renewing. We need all the Friends we have to stay loyal and to help us to preserve and present Jewish Culture. Annual membership is a minimum donation of £20 per year. Please call Tel 020 7898 4308 Fax 020 7898 4309 for details.
|The Jewish Music Institute is an independent Arts organisation based at SOAS, University of London. It is an international focus bringing the ancient yet contemporary musical culture of the Jews to the mainstream British cultural, academic and social life. Its programmes of education, performance and information highlight many aspects of Jewish music throughout the ages and across the globe for people of all ages, backgrounds and cultures.|