Newsletter No. 5
posted Spring 2002
Continental Britons Edition
In this newsletter you will read about the JMI Jewish musical events that excited critics and audiences last autumn, and about concerts and innovative Summer schools coming up this year such as the musical hands-on experiences of KlezFest 2002 and OT Azoy!, (a one-week crash course in Yiddish) as well as a lovely weekend in Cambridge: Klezmer on the Cam.
You will find details of JMI events in the Spitalfields Festival and for the Queen's Golden Jubilee. There is more information on the seminar and concerts on émigré composers at the Wigmore in June, in association with the exhibition Continental Britons at the Jewish Museum and news of a concert in Norwich Cathedral to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Council of Christians and Jews.
The JMI performance programme for 2002 will end on Sunday 1 December with a whole day of Jewish culture at the South Bank Centre starting with a Chanukah musical puppet show for children and including the South Bank début of the fabulous Klezmer en Buenos Aires, and a stunning performance of Symphonic Klezmer with the Swiss group Kol Simcha together with the London Mozart Players. Book the day in your diaries now. More details on this will follow in the autumn.
Two concerts and a seminar at the Wigmore Hall on 9 and 17 June will highlight the works of refugee composers who contributed considerably to the musical life of post-war Britain, but whose works are hardly known today.
Almost seventy important composers came to Britain to escape Nazi persecution between 1933 and 1945. Some remained here permanently whilst others moved on to other countries. Before being forced into exile many of these composers were highly regarded figures in performing and academic circles in Germany, Austria and central Europe, but their works could not be published, performed or recorded after the Nazis' rise to power.
The two concerts at the Wigmore Hall, performed by internationally acclaimed artists, will feature music by some of the most significant of these émigré composers. The first recital on Sunday 9 June features violin and vocal music by Egon Wellesz, Berthold Goldschmidt, Hans Gál, Matyas Seiber and others, including living composer Peter Gellhorn who was interned as an enemy alien on the Isle of Man. These works will be performed by the talented Israeli-American violinist Nurit Pacht with the young Russian pianist Konstantin Lifschitz and the German baritone Christian Immler, winner of the Nadia and Lili Boulanger Vocal-Piano Competition in November 2001, with pianist, musicologist and writer, Erik Levi.
In the second concert on Monday 17 June, members of the Frankfurt-based Ensemble Modern, widely regarded as one of Europe's finest contemporary-music ensembles, perform string and wind music by Hans Gál, Franz Reizenstein, Mátyás Seiber, Egon Wellesz, Berthold Goldschmidt and living composer Vilém Tauský.
For the seminar in the afternoon of Sunday 9 June (2.30pm5.30pm) Vilém Tauský and Peter Gellhorn (both better known as opera conductors in the UK) will be joined by Daniel Snowman, author of the new book The Hitler Émigrés: The Cultural Impact on Britain of Refugees from Nazism, Eva Fox- Gál, daughter of the composer Hans Gál, Bernard Keeffe friend of Goldschmidt and Philip Ward student of Wellesz. Lewis Foreman will chair a panel with these and other contemporaries, colleagues and family members, to talk about the lives of the émigré composers, their experiences, the conditions they found on their arrival and their contributions to British cultural life. The seminar is sponsored by the Austrian Cultural Forum London.
The concerts and seminar will be presented by the JMI International Forum for Suppressed Music (President Sir Simon Rattle) and Andante, in association with the exhibition Continental Britons at the Jewish Museum, London. The concerts will be recorded, streamed on the new classical music website: www.andante.com and released by Andante as a boxed set of CDs as well as broadcast by the BBC. This project is supported by the Arts Council of England, German Government, Austrian Cultural Forum, and Bnai Brith Leo Baeck Lodges.
Tickets: £15.00, £13.00, £10.00 and £8.00. £2.00 off each ticket if buying for both concerts. Seminar £6.00. All bookable in advance from Wigmore Hall Box Office 020 7935 2141
Partnership with Andante
JMI International Forum for Suppressed Music is delighted to be presenting these concerts together with the new website and record label Andante, Chairman, Pierre Bergé; President, Alain Coblence. Launched in April 2001, the Andante website provides a single, convenient location for information about classical music for music lovers, music professionals and curious newcomers alike. At www.andante.com visitors will find news, reviews, stimulating commentary, professional and educational tools and access by subscription to a growing library of audio and video programmes, including both new and historic recordings and current performances.
The Andante collection of beautifully packaged compact discs with extensive notes and illustrations, has been designed to preserve and advance the world's recorded classical music heritage providing music lovers with a definitive library of the classical music essentials performed by the greatest artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. In
addition, starting with these concerts, Andante is embarking on a long-term
project of performances and live recordings of albums dedicated to Forbidden
Music, a worldwide historical survey of outstanding musical works that
have been suppressed, and of outstanding composers who were persecuted
and exiled. These recordings will be available for purchase as are the
current offerings, at the website's on-line boutique. To become an Andante
member, log on to
Continental Britons: Jewish Refugees from Nazi Europe
This major new exhibition relates the extraordinary story of Jewish refugees who fled from Nazi persecution and arrived in Britain before World War II. It follows their journeys to Britain, the challenges they faced in building new lives, and the remarkable contribution that so many of them made to their adopted homeland in many different fields of endeavour. The exhibition marks both the 60th anniversary of the Association of Jewish Refugees and the 70th anniversary of the Jewish Museum. It is accompanied by a lively and stimulating programme of talks and events.
Please contact the Museum for details
JMI International Forum for Suppressed Music (IFSM)
Set up in 1999, at the University of London, IFSM brings together a wide range of people working in the field of suppressed music. Although its early focus is on composers who suffered under the Third Reich, it is also a platform for examining music under other totalitarian regimes. IFSM has embarked on projects including conferences and concerts and the recording of oral testimony of composers and musicians, their families and friends. It is preparing to receive the archives of musicians of the period, establishing Web-based, internationally accessible databases of the repertoire and developing major enterprises in the study, reconstruction, performance and recording of this music and publishing new scholarship as well as material not hitherto available in English. It has established an international newsletter available on email and on the website. Many more projects are lined up and awaiting funding to set them in motion. The establishment of this Forum, and the development of its work, is endeavouring to meet the needs of audiences, musicians, promoters and scholars the world over.
The Executive Committee and Editorial Board members are Michael Haas, who is project director of Continental Britons: The Émigré Composers and also executive producer of the 'Entartete Musik' Series, on Decca; Erik Levi, Senior lecturer at Royal Holloway University of London and author of Music in the Third Reich; Alexander Knapp, Joe Loss Lecturer in Jewish Music, SOAS, University of London; Lloyd Moore, Boosey and Hawkes; Martin Anderson, Toccata Press, Betty Collick and Geraldine Auerbach MBE, director, Jewish Music Institute, SOAS.
On the Advisory Board are Brendan G. Carroll head of International Korngold Society; Albrecht Dümling of Musica Reanimata and Entartete Musik Exhibition Curator, Berlin; Christopher Hailey of Franz Schreker Foundation LA and Schoenberg Institut, Vienna; Martin Schüssler of Rathaus Foundation, New York and Berlin. As patrons many musicians and artists have expressed great interest in the project including comedian and writer Barry Humphries, baritone Matthias Goerne, composer and conductor Vilém Tauský, and conductors John Mauceri and Laurence Foster.
In July 2000 IFSM presented an international conference at SOAS on the music of the pupils of Franz Schreker, arguably the most influential composition teacher in the world in the 1920s. In 2001 IFSM presented a day of concerts and recitals at the South Bank Centre under the title Thwarted Voices, reviewed in this Newsletter
Musicians who came to Britain in exile 19331945
At the time of Hitler's rise in 1933, Jewish musicians were perhaps Germany and Austria's most important living, cultural assets. There was hardly a note of popular music that did not rely on Jewish artists for either the tunes or the words, and often both. They were equally active in the established and avant-garde music scenes. Of the almost 70 important composers who came to the UK to escape Nazi persecution between 1933 and 1945, some remained permanently, while others stayed only a short time before moving on to the Americas, South Africa and Australia. Refugee Jewish doctors, academics and scientists were made more welcome in Britain than musicians. By 1938, the Foreign Office had decreed that 'musicians and minor commercial artists' were 'unsuitable' for entry. Yet composers and performers saw the UK as a haven of liberalism and tolerance. Among those who came and stayed were Berthold Goldschmidt, Egon Wellesz, Hans Gál, Franz Reizenstein and Karl Rankl. Almost all of them stopped composing for a long period of time during some or all of their exile. Many other musicians came and, recognising the lack of opportunities, left for more welcoming shores:, among them composers Kurt Weill, Ernst Krenek, Theodor Adorno, Ernst Toch and Karol Rathaus and instrumentalists Artur Schnabel and Emanuel Feuermann.
By presenting these concerts and seminar we might come to understand the difficulties experienced by Jewish and political refugee musicians coming to the UK, in gaining acceptance from a nationalistic musical establishment. Perhaps the most representative exampleeven years after the Warwas the 1949 competition for a new 'English opera' for the Festival of Britain in 1951. The contestants wrote using pseudonyms so that anonymity could be guaranteed. The principal winners were works by the Jewish refugees Berthold Goldschmidt (Beatrice Cenci) and Karl Rankl (Deirdre of the Sorrows). The hoped for performances of the winning operas never took place. The Festival of Britain's new English operas performed at the Royal Opera House were Benjamin Britten's Billy Budd and Ralph Vaughan William's Pilgrim's Progress. Years later, Berthold Goldschmidt philosophically admitted that he had, if nothing else, contributed to the canon of English-language opera. Rankl responded differently by destroying his winning opera's score.
In spite of the difficulties of many of yesterday's musical 'asylum seekers', including confinement in British internment camps and deportation to New Zealand and Australia, they made an important contribution to their new environments. Composers as highly regarded in Germany and Austria as Walter Goehr, Hans Gál and Egon Wellesz were appointed to prestigious university positions influencing future generations by bringing a range of new invigorating influences to their students. Other composers used the British pastoral style and spun it into a uniquely Central European language. In his association with the BBC, Berthold Goldschmidt conducted many new works. He helped prepare the performing version of Mahler's Tenth Symphony with Deryck Cooke and conducted its première. He advised Simon Rattle, who in turn was one of the first to rediscover Goldschmidt's own compositions.
An examination of musical exile in the UK gives us an opportunity to
look at British attitudes seventy years ago and compare them with attitudes
today. Many of the key players have died; indeed, some of their children
are now in their seventies and eighties. The contribution made to British
musical life by the refugees that were accepted only grudgingly and then
sidelined, has never been fully assessed or even adequately acknowledged.
These concerts and recordings aim to redress that imbalance. With debates
on asylum being raised again, it is useful to refer to the displaced musicians
seventy years ago who have made much of today's British musical life possible.
JMI David Uri Memorial Fellowship
Michael Haas has been award the first JMI David Uri Memorial Fellowship in recognition of his enormous contribution bringing back the suppressed European music of the early twentieth century to the mainstream. In his groundbreaking series of recordings for Decca under the title of Entartete Musik, Michael unearthed wonderful operas, symphonies and chamber works by composers who were highly influential in Europe until they were banned by the Third Reich. Michael is now on the Executive Committee of the JMI International Forum for Suppressed Music (IFSM) and this award will help him in his role as Project Director for the IFSM project 'Continental Britons: The Émigré Composers' recordings, seminars, publications and webcasts. Michael is also consultant for IFSM on major projects of suppressed and forbidden music in Amsterdam, Vienna, Berlin and Graz. The Fellowship, donated by JMI Founder Member, Mrs Sandra Blackman, and her family, is in memory of her son David, who loved music.
The Hitler Émigrés
Daniel Snowman's new book, The Hitler Émigrés: The Cultural Impact on Britain of Refugees from Nazism, is published by Chatto & Windus on 2 May 2002. It examines the extraordinarily talented group of people whose impact on the artistic and cultural life of Britain was far in excess of their numbers. Their names amount to a virtual 'Who's Who' of the modern world's most celebrated artists, architects, musicians, film makers, photographers, choreographers, historians, philosophers, psychologists, scientists, publishers and broadcasters.
Daniel Snowman has spent a lifetime absorbing the work of these continental Britons and has met and interviewed many of the most famous. In the book and on the radio he presents a dazzling array of individual portraits, skilfully, weaving these into the broader skein of cultural history from the 1930s to the present. The book includes close-up assessments of the work of Ernst Gombrich, Karl Popper, Arthur Koestler, Nikolaus Pevsner, Georg Solti, Claus Moser, Hans Keller, Eric Hobsbawm, George Weidenfeld and the Amadeus Quartet. The book shows who these people were, where they came
from and what they brought with them. It also looks at how they were received and what impact they had on their adopted country and beyond. It describes what resulted when the refined world of Bloomsbury, Vaughan Williams and Noel Coward gave asylum to the cultural legacy of European modernism, of Freud and Schoenberg and the Bauhaus.
Many of the émigrés, Snowman finds, were natural 'bridge-builders' who helped enrich their (in some ways) insular new homeland with fresh insights from continental Europe. A number of distinguished exiles (such as Gropius, Szilard, Adorno, Hayek, Rudolf Bing) moved on from Britain to the USA where they joined Einstein, Mann, Schoenberg et al. Others went to Canada, Australia, South Africa and Palestine. Thus, Hitler, far from eliminating the cosmopolitan culture he so abhorred, helped spread it throughout the world.
On Bank Holiday Monday, 6 May, BBC Radio 3 will devote the entire evening (7.30pmmidnight) to Daniel Snowman and these émigrés in a programme called The Culture Carriers. Snowman introduces listeners to the life and work (and voices) of some of the most celebrated émigrés. He re-visits Vienna in the company of Siegmund Nissel of the Amadeus Quartet and discusses the influence and importance of the Amadeus with Levon Chilingirian, leader of his own quartet. He talks to film expert Ian Christie about the émigré film-makers, among them Alexander Korda, the screenwriter Emerich Pressburger (creator of The Red Shoes), actors, cinematographers, composersand the designer of the Bond movies and Dr Strangelove, Ken Adam. He discusses with art critic Frank Whitford the work of artists from Kokoschka to Lucian Freud, and the art history of Gombrich and the Warburg Institute. He visits buildings by such European modernist architects as Gropius, Mendelsohn, Lubetkin and Goldfinger with architectural historian Alan Powers and discusses the work of Nikolaus Pevsner. Daniel also introduces the last interview with the late Martin Esslin, who brought modern European drama to the BBC. He presents the wit and humour of Gerard Hoffnung, in the company of his widow, Annetta Hoffnung and invites Milein Cosman to introduce recordings of her late husband, the musician and broadcaster Hans Keller.
Daniel Snowman listens, with record producer Michael Haas, director of the JMI project on Continental British composers, to music by émigré composers including Wellesz, Gál, Goldschmidt and Reizenstein. Throughout the week, Radio 3's Morning Performance will pick up the theme and include works by a number of the émigré composers. Daniel Snowman says, 'Of all the cultural contributions of the refugees, music was probably the biggestespecially if you include performers and entrepreneurs as well as composers.'
To order your copy of the book, please send a cheque for £20.00 plus £1.00 for postage and packing, made out to 'JMD' to Jewish Music Distribution, PO Box 67, Hailsham, BN27 4UW, Tel 01323 832 863, email jmduk[at]hotmail.com. JMD also stocks recordings by many refugee composers, including Gál, Goldschmidt, Schreker, Krasa and Haas.
Spitalfields: a Jewish Music Festival 1028 June 2002
In this, the 26th year of the Spitalfields Festival, the new artistic director, composer Jonathan Dove, has decided to start a journey through the music of people who at different times made Spitalfields their home. The Jewish immigration into Spitalfields is the starting point for a series of concerts spanning a thousand years of Jewish music from synagogue, street and concert hall. The Old Spitalfields Market stage will reverberate with the vitality of Klezmer song and dance with Lucie Skeaping and The Burning Bush and Vivi Lachs and Klezmer Klub. Gregori Schechter's Klezmer Festival Band will fill the Spitz on the 16 June with the toe tapping melodies and rhythms of Eastern European Jewish wedding parties. The BBC singers with Cantor Alberto Mizrahi perform Sephardi and Ashkenazi psalms and pieces by Weill, Schoenberg and Malcolm Singer, under the baton of Malcolm Singer himself, at Christ Church on Wednesday 26 June.
Concert: The Tree of Life, 23 June
On Sunday 23 June, 7.30pm, JMI presents The Tree of Life: Sacred Music from the Jewish Liturgy at Bevis Marks Synagogue. Britain's most celebrated cantor, Moshe Haschel, and The Ne'imah Singers conducted by Marc Temerlies sing the uplifting and spiritual settings of Hebrew psalms, sacred poems and prayers, beautiful music for Sabbaths, Festivals and the High Holydays from around the world: ancient mystical hymns set in the sixteenth century in the Holy Land, baroque polyphony of 17th century Italy, rich 19th century romantic settings from the Great Synagogues of Berlin, Vienna and Eastern Europe, compositions by great British cantors and choirmasters. This concert is also part of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Celebrations, and the 60th anniversary of the Council of Christians and Jews.
Tickets £10.00£22.00, concessions £2.00 off top two prices, for Friends of JMI. Spitalfields Festival 1028 June 2002: for tickets and Festival brochure call the Festival Hotline on 020 7377 1362 or visit www.spitalfieldsfestival.org.uk
Talks and Walks presented by JMI
JMI presents two Thursday lunch-time talks and two Sunday morning walks for the Spitalfields Festival. Alexander Rosenzweig, a riveting speaker and sleuth researcher will look at Jewish settlement in the area from 1066 until the expulsion in 1290 on Thursday 13 June. The following week, on Thursday 20 June he will talk about the colourful Sephardi characters of Creechurch Lane and Bevis Marks in the first 100 years after the re-entry of Jews to Britain under Oliver Cromwell in 1650.
Tickets, £7.00, including snack lunch from 12.45pm and a free Festival programme book. Booking essential: 020 7377 1362.
On Sunday 16 June at 10.30am you can join London guide Clive Bettington on a walk entitled Cigar-makers, Philanthropists and Artists. Here Clive leads us through the haunts of the Jewish traders, social agitators and particularly the Artists of Spitalfields. On Sunday 23 June, Clive leads a walk called A Shtetl called Whitechapel: Rabbis, radicals and the Yiddish Theatre. He takes us past the Synagogues, bathhouses and Yiddish theatres of Spitalfields and the Jewish East End.
Meet at Aldgate Tube Station ticket office. Price £8.00 includes a free Festival Programme book. Booking essential: 020 7377 1362
Jewish music by established and new composers
All through the Spitalfields Festival, concerts feature works of Jewish significance by Ravel, Prokofiev, Schubert and Bloch as well as a new composition by Simon Bainbridge. There will also be works by many Jewish composers, Aaron Copland, Robert Saxton, Brian Elias, Steve Martland, Gerald Finzi, Minna Keal and Felix Mendelssohn.
Call 020 7377 1362 for bookings and a full Festival calendar.
Klezfest London and Ot Azoy!
JMI Yiddish and Klezmer Summer Schools, London University.
Last year nearly 200 musicians and non-musicians, from all over the world had the most incredible immersion in traditional Eastern European Jewish music, song, dance, theatre, folklore and culture. Every hour was filled with workshops, masterclasses and lectures. The only problem was what to choose! Just hear what some of the participants said:
'KlezFest was one of the most moving and life enhancing events I have
had the privilege of attending.'
This year's KlezFest Sunday 21Thursday 25 July will be even better, more music instructors, and Yiddish play reading sessions in English. Each hour will have three masterclasses, workshops or lectures led by the most inspiring musicians and lecturers, including Michael Alpert, Alan Bern, Adrienne Cooper, Zev Feldman, Frank London, Zalmen Mlotek, Merlin Shepherd, Deborah Strauss, Jeff Warschauer and Michael Wex. The whole of London will ring out with klezmer when KlezFest opens at London's Regents Park on Sunday afternoon. There will be a Gala concert on Monday 22 July at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall, where Frank London's Klezmer Brass Allstars and his list of gueststhe KlezFest faculty membersreads like the roll of honour of the greatest stars in the Klezmer galaxy. Other evening events will include a big time jam session with Frank London and and evening at the Spitz called Klezmer: The next generation with performances by visiting bands. On the last evening there will be concerts by the student ensembles.
In the words of Michel Borzykowski who attended from Switzerland, 'The London Klez-Fest is going to become a must for all the klezmorim and all the people having an interest in Jewish music in Europe. I really hope to meet all of you there next year!'
One-Week Yiddish Crash Course 1419 July
As an innovation this year, JMI is holding a weeks crash course in Yiddish, just preceding KlezFest. It was felt that there was scope for a new model of Yiddish language course, catering for people who could not devote their whole summer to it, for those that heard it as a child and now would like to see how much they can retrieve or for young people completely new to the subject. We have devised a programme for those people who are not quite sure how they will get on or whether they will enjoy learning Yiddish. It's just a week, from Sunday 14Friday 19 July 2002, to put your toe in and tryand its right here in the heart of London, UK.
The course is called 'Ot Azoy!This is the way!' and offers to teach you to speak, read and write Yiddish in a week! How can we make such a preposterous offer? Well, because we have the very best and most experienced international faculty from Europe and America. Course director, Chayele Beer, teaches Yiddish at London's University College and she has chosen as her teachers, the inimitable Pesakh Fiszman of Columbia University NY and Sonia Dratwa-Pinkusowitz of the Martin Buber Institute in Brussels. Another special feature of this course is that Zalmen Mlotek will participate during the afternoons giving special instruction on Yiddish song pronunciation and interpretation, as well as direct a Yiddish chorus. All London singers are invited to join this chorus from 5.006.30pm each day, and on Sunday 21 July there will be a great choral concert (which will be on the opening night of KlezFest).
Frank London's Klezmer Brass Allstars in Concert 22 July 2002
The Queen Elizabeth Hall will host a galaxy of Klezmer Stars when KlezFest faculty members (themselves stars of the worlds most famous klezmer bands) (see above) join with Frank London's eight piece Klezmer Brass Allstars in a Gala KlezFest concert.
For the first time in London, members of Brave Old World (Berlin) Khevrisa, The Klezmatics (New York) the Klezmer Conservatory Band (Boston) and others will be on stage together. Frank London, who himself heads up a variety of ensembles including the Hassidic New Wave and Invocations, is on tour with his Klezmer Brass Allstars, and is making a special diversion to be in London for part of KlezFest. Apart from hosting this very special concert which is open to the public, trumpet virtuoso Frank will be teaching brass and leading a giant jam session for KlezFest.
Another concert open to the public during KlezFest will be 'Klezmer: The next generation' at The Spitz on Wednesday 24 July. Hosted by London's Oi-Va-Voi with their 'addictive blend of traditional Jewish folk and urban beats' (The Independent), this concert gives an opportunity to those students who are attending KlezFest as a band, to perform and share with each other their interpretations of Jewish music for today.
Klezmer Brass Allstars tickets from the South Bank Centre Box Office:
020 7960 4242
Klezmer on the Cam with Lucie Skeaping and The Burning Bush
Lucie Skeaping and The Burning Bush will be joined by Merlin Shepherd and others for a Jewish cultural weekend at Peterhouse, Cambridge's oldest college. On Sunday 25 and Monday 26 August the walls of Peterhouse, will resound with Klezmer music, song and dance at Klezmer on the Cam a two-day residential and exciting event in this beautiful city. For those whose interests are more factual, there are non-musical events concurrent with instrumental, vocal and dance workshops. Anna Tzelniker, the doyenne of the Yiddish Theatre, will describe her experiences in the Yiddish theatre and its influence even today. In keeping with the Jewish love of exegesis, there will be a three-way discussion between renowned writer, Dan Jacobson, Professor of Divinity, Nicholas de Lange and Nobel Laureate, Aaron Klug, on the topic 'A View from the Garden of Eden' with audience participation. Ethnomusicologist Ruth Davis will give us a flavour of the music of Palestine of the early 20th century compiled from the remarkable Lachmann archive. With film, music writing workshops, plus a wonderful concert from Lucie Skeaping and the Burning Bush, participants can be sure of a stimulating, once in a lifetime experience in a glorious setting; and weather permitting, a punt on the Cam and a participatory final party.
The amazingly low cost of £85 includes 3 meals a day and all events. Join Us! Contact: Klezmer on the Cam, P O BOX 206, Cambridge CB1 7WJ. T 01223 248959 E KlezmerOnCam[at]cs.com
Calling all Choristers for Zalmen Mlotek Choral Week 1419 July
Yiddish Choral Workshops, 14-21 July 2002
Zalmen Mlotek, director of New York's Folksbeine Yiddish Theatre will be coming to London to give Yiddish Choral Workshops in July. A renowned and much loved choral director, Zalmen is a world authority on the Yiddish song repertoire. He has been invited by the conductor of the London Jewish Male choir, Clive Hyman, with the help of his Millennium Award, to spend a week in London, working with his choir as well as with the Zemel Choir and Alyth Choral Society, musical director, Vivienne Bellos.
Repertoire will be learned in advance, and then Zalmen will work with each choir intensively in the week of Sunday 14 July. Each afternoon from 5.00pm to 6.30 Zalmen will conduct a scratch choir at SOAS, University of London. Choristers from any choirs and members of the public are invited to join this choir, which will also include participants in Ot Azoy!, the Yiddish Language course.
The week will culminate in a Gala concert on Sunday 21 July at 8.00pm at SOAS where all choirs will sing the works they have learned with Zalmen and they will all join together for a grand finale. This concert will be on the opening night of KlezFest 2002, where Zalmen will be giving masterclasses and workshops in Yiddish song with Adrienne Cooper and also conducting a Yiddish Chorus.
Jewish and Christian Music in Norwich Cathedral 16 October 2002
New Cantata by Ronnie Cass
Jewish and Christian voices will ring out in harmony and rhythm on Wednesday 16 October 2002, in a programme of uplifting music of Sabbaths, Festivals and Holidays and the premiere of a new choral work, by composer Ronnie Cass, who has written music for Harry Secombe, for television programmes such as Songs of Praise and Highway and who wrote the music for Cliff Richard's film Summer Holiday. The concert will be the culmination of Collective Sound, a year-long national programme celebrating musical diversity in multicultural Britain, set up to commemorate 60 years of the work of the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ) and reaffirms its important work in bringing communities together to fight the evils of prejudice, intolerance and discrimination.
Participants will be the Zemel Choir, and Alyth Choral Society, Musical Director Vivienne Bellos, and the Choir of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, St John's Wood. They will combine under the baton of Cathy Heller-Jones for Ronnie Cass's new work. The Norwich Cathedral Choir, Master of Music David Dunnett, and students from local schools will also participate. Lighting will be by John S Hill who lit St Paul's Cathedral so brilliantly in 1995 when Yehudi Menuhin conducted Ernest Bloch's Sacred Service for JMI.
The concert will be presented by the Jewish Music Institute (JMI) and CCJ by kind permission of the Dean and Chapter of Norwich, in association with the Norfolk and Norwich Branch of the CCJ and the Norwich Jewish communities. Proceeds will go to the continued educational work of the Council of Christians and Jews in the UK.
Tickets £18, £15, £6. £3 off for usual concessions and Friends of JMI and CCJ from William Elkins Music of Norwich, 31 Exchange Street, Norwich NR2 1DP T 01603 666 332 and from CCJ in London, T 020 7820 0090, E ccjrelations[at]ccj.org.uk
Packages have been arranged for this special day, including all or some of: lunch, an illustrated talk on the Medieval Jews of Medieval Norwich, a private tour of Norwich Cathedral, high tea at the Cathedral and the concert. Please contact the box offices at Norwich or at CCJ for details.
Thwarted Voices: Music Suppressed by the Third Reich
On Sunday 25 November 2001, the Jewish Music Institute International Forum for Suppressed Music presented six events on the South Bank featuring music by composers who were successfully combining tradition with modernity until their work was banned in 1933. Performances included the first British staging of Max Brand's 1929 hit opera, Maschinist Hopkins, as well as orchestral, vocal and chamber concerts, helping to restore rich and nearly obliterated repertoire back into the concert hall and public awareness.
The day started at 10.00am with an introductory talk by Michael Haas, Executive Producer of the Decca 'Entartete Musik' series, and continued with a song recital by baritone Christian Immler with Erik Levi at the piano; followed by a recital of Goldschmidt, Zemlinsky, Webern and Rebecca Clarke by the Vienna Piano Trio, and ended with a recital of cabaret and theatre songs by Eva Meier, in the Purcell Room and a concert of Schreker, Pavel Haas, Karl Amadeus Hartmann, Korngold, and Schoenberg by the Yehudi Menuhin School Orchestra and soloists conducted by Malcolm Singer in the Queen Elizabeth Hall. This day was presented in collaboration with the season of events under the title Vienna-Berlin-London: The Trails of Creativity, 19181938 promoted by the Austrian Cultural Forum and included in the JC Festival of Jewish Arts and Culture.
Patron of the day, the comedian and author Barry Humphries, said in an interview with the Evening Standard, 'There are two things which Hitler gave us, coffee and chamber music! Australia was just a tea and beer drinking society before the war. But when I grew up, small coffeehouses in Melbourne were being run by Jewish refugees, who all went home and formed chamber music groups in the evening.
'I have had an interest in music, always have, ever since schooldays in Jeelong Grammarwhere the art master was a member of the Bauhaus. I play the pianonot well, but I compose the songs which my character Dame Edna sings. I am specially interested in music of this interwar period, in fact, when the Rabbi of the Melbourne Synagogue, formerly of Berlin Liberal Synagogue until the Nazis burned it down, played me his recording of Krenek's Jonny Spielt Auf, I really heard what a hit it was and began to think that my spiritual home had been in the Weimar Republic.'
In his introduction on stage at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in the afternoon, to the Max Brand's Opera, Maschinist Hopkins (a work often considered comparable to Krenek's Jonny), Barry held up a bundle of musical scores, which he had come across as a youth in a second hand bookshop in Melbourne. They must have been from the estate of some forgotten refugee and included works by many of the composers whose works were being performed in the day's recitals: Schoenberg, Weill, Korngold, Zemlinsky and the Viennese composer Franz Schreker. Schreker, arguably the most influential composition teacher in Europe at the time, was the key to the whole period. He was teacher to so many German and Austrian composers later deemed as 'degenerate'. Barry told the large audience how he had written to record shops in Europe asking for Schreker recordings, only to be met with blank responses. On his first visit to Vienna he was baffled to find that even there no one had heard of him. Since Schreker's traumatised death in the 1930s, having been thrown out of his job at the Berlin Hochschule, he had been completely forgotten! Barry said. 'The Nazis did a pretty good job of stamping out an entire cultural manifestation.'
The same fate was true of Max Brand's work. He studied with Schreker and his opera, Maschinist Hopkins was one of the most successful shows in Europe with nearly forty different productions from 1929 until it was shut down in 1933. Barry expressed his pleasure that the work was now at last coming to the British stage, and said how pleased he was that he had been asked to be involved. He told journalist Rick Jones, he was delighted that the JMI International Forum for Suppressed Music has taken the initiative to promote a whole day of this unjustly neglected music.
As relevant today as when first written, Maschinist Hopkins explores the influence of new technology on the way we work and play. Blending grand operatic ambitions with a cinematically inspired plot, riotous 1920s jazz, popular dance idioms, Puccini-esque emotional intensity and the musical expressionism of Strauss and Berg, Brand created an operatic sensation. In Barry's words 'it's a very curious piece with machines singing, industrial effects, sentimentality mixed with very jazzy effects. It's like listening to Alban Bergthen suddenly you get a crossed line with Paul Whiteman's band.'
The operaa Baker's Opera/Cambridge University Opera Society production was conducted by Peter Tregear, directed by Katja Lehmann and designed by Ruth Paton, supported by the Faculty of Music and Department of German of the University of Cambridge, BP plc, Lord Ashdown Charitable Settlement, and the German Embassy, Londonreceived a great deal of attention with a large and rapt audience of musicians, scholars and an eager public. Rodney Milnes in The Times said 'It's a fine work, moving through 12 scenes in about two hours. There is dramatic pace, interesting orchestration and really inventive choral writing for the machines, ...with not a dull moment musically, Hopkins is definitely worth reviving, if only as a snapshot of a whole era.' Tim Ashley in The Guardian said, 'Its influence was colossal, Brand's mingling of Schoenbergian serialism and jazz had a major effect on Berg's Lulu. The machines are chillingly anthropomorphic producing atmospheric shprachstimme and choral melismas that pre-empt Schoenberg's own music for the voice of God in Moses and Aron.'
Matthew Rye in the Daily Telegraph appreciated the day saying, 'We are familiar with early 20th Century Romanticism and post-war modernism, but gone, or at least long lost to our ears, was a good part of music that made the link between the two, music by predominantly Jewish musicians who in one way or another were silenced by the Nazis.' He goes on to say, 'An invigorating day organised by the Jewish Music Institute on the theme of these Thwarted Voices provided ... evidence of the riches waiting to be unearthed. Events included an ear-opening recital of long-lost song repertoire ... and an outstanding chamber concert by the Vienna Piano Trio. The centrepiece was the British stage première of Brand's Maschinist Hopkins. ...It's easy to see why it was such a hit with this cinematic politicised plot, requiring a spectacular staging with music to suit all tastes ...All sang marvellously but only the three principalsJames Hancock, Carmel Gutteridge and Stephen Bowenshowed enough evidence of acting experience to make Katja Lehmann's updated and necessarily frugal staging come to life ...it was wonderful to have the chance to hear this score, which despite reservations about its coherence, must be regarded as more than a footnote to musical history.'
And The Independent's A. Picard enthused that,' this first staged revival in Britain ...revealed a terrific work, meaty, stylish, witty and enjoyably nasty with music equal to Berg and considerably finer than Weill ...A word about the performance's highlights. Firstly young director Katja Lehmann's superb use of minimally expensive and maximally effective video projection, secondly, the spirited playing of the large (Cambridge University Symphony) Orchestra under Peter Tregear's vivid direction, thirdly soprano Carmel Gutteridge (as Nell) who demonstrated a powerful presence and a very exciting operatic talent in the making. I only hope that representatives from the major opera companies were there, for Maschinist Hopkins deserves a serious big budget revival.'
The Jewish Chronicle, in applauding the day was particularly struck by
the young musicians of today embracing this repertoire. Laurence Joffe
under the baton of Malcolm Singer, former conductor of the
Zemel Choir, The Yehudi Menuhin School Orchestra performed with exceptional
poise and maturity, Pavel Haas' Study for Strings, composed in the Terezin
Camp in 1944, and Karl Amadeus Hartman's Concerto Funèbre composed
in 1939. For me the real revelation was the orchestra's final piece, Schoenberg's
half-hour long Verklarte Nacht played by these teenagers with astounding
unity of purpose. Seeing young faces from apparently every continent revelling
in this legacy, you can almost imagine the composers smiling over the
fact that the injustice and bigotry did not, after all, destroy their
Sons of Sepharad at Bevis Marks December 2001
Sons of Sepharad, December 2001
The glow of 250 glittering candles in the high-ceilinged building provided a beautiful setting for a concert of the sweet, rich tones of three internationally acclaimed cantors from North America. The soaring operatic tenor voice of Greek-born Alberto Mizrahi from Chicago, the exciting rhythmic intonation of Moroccan-born Aaron Bensoussan from Toronto and the sweet-toned baritone of Moroccan New Yorker, Gerard Edery, make up a sensational new ensembleSons of Sepharad, who gave Londoners a rare treat when they performed two different programmes to celebrate three hundred years of continuous worship in the city of London. Each is a virtuoso soloist in his own right, but together, and in combination of duet and trio with the accompaniment of outstanding oud player George Mgrdichian and brilliant percussionist Rex Benincasa, they brought us the magical world of Sephardi melody in the programme also called Sons of Sepharad.
The atmospheric and historic Bevis Marks Synagogue, Britain's earliest existing synagogue, was transformed into an Alhambra nightclub, for this concert that elicited plenty of participation. A history of the synagogue and community, and a prayer for Israel from Rabbi Dr Abraham Levi, formed a moving prologue to the memorable concert, which began with Kol Dodi sung by each cantor in turn and then in sweetly eastern harmony. The Salonikan wedding song Scarerica de Oro unravelled its winding oriental melody gracefully, contrasted by the jaunty Fel Sharah, sung in five languages, Italian, English, Greek, Arabic and French, highlighting the broad scope of Sephardi culture. Aaron Bensoussan's own swinging Lecha Dodi with the audience's catchy refrain, led to Edery's suave, lilting tango rendition of Adio Querido, a popular Ladino song. Mizrahi's decorative improvisation to the eastern flavoured Adon haslichot, was mesmeric, supported by exciting oud sounds and the three combined for a thrilling version of Shalom Aleichem sung to the famous melody for Avram Avinu (or Quando el re Nimrod). With the rich harmony of three of the world's finest cantorial voices, and the propulsive rhythms of the oud and drums, the effect was ravishing, creating a unique aura. Hopefully a CD of the Sons of Sepharad concert will soon be available for all to enjoy, and one hopes for a return concert visit in the not too distant future.
Hear our Voice: The Song in Prayer
As if the two performances of Sons of Sepharad were not enough, the trio of visiting cantors joined forces on the Sunday night with London-based Cantor Moshe Haschel, in exquisite form, and the evocative sounds of the expert Ne'imah Singers directed by the dynamic Marc Temerlies in an inspired concert of Sephardi and Ashkenazi liturgical works.
Alberto Mizrahi (not known as the Pavarotti of the Bimah for nothing) thrilled the audience with his atmospheric account of the Ladino Respondemus, and in two eloquent modern Psalm settings. Aaron Bensoussan, dancing on the Bimah, led the capacity audience in his lively settings of Ana Avda and Lecha Dodi, to the middle-eastern colours of oud and drum. Gerard Edery's soft baritone brought added interest to his chosen repertoire and Moshe Haschel and the Ne'imah Singers gave one of their most memorable performances.
Geraldine Auerbach, director of the Jewish Music Institute said that
JMI was delighted to have been invited to present these concerts as part
of the three hundredth anniversary of the Synagogue. 'We were able to
bring a group of outstanding musicians from North America to perform two
very different concerts, together with some of the UK's finest artists'.
These concerts were deemed most worthy of the occasion and formed a definite
highlight of the tercentenary celebrations and also of the first JC Festival
of Jewish Arts and Culture.
JMI is presenting The Tree of Life: Sacred Music from the Jewish Liturgy at Bevis Marks Synagogue as part of the Spitalfields Festival and the Queen's Golden Jubilee on Sunday 23 June (see above). For those interested in Jewish Liturgical (Shul) music there is a website devoted to this at www.shulmusic.org.
JMI Second Anniversary Party March 2002
Lady Solti, joint President of the Jewish Music Institute, welcomed nearly seventy supporters of JMI at the Institute's second birthday party, held at the home of Sir Sydney and Lady Lipworth in March 2002. Lady Solti in praising the work of JMI, stressed how Jewish music and Jewish music making has shaken the world. In the two years of its existence as an Institute at London University, JMI has worked closely with the SOAS Department of Music in developing ongoing Jewish music classes, international conferences, summer schools and in creating the first Jewish Music Library in this country. JMI has become a partner of the Millennium Commission and has been able to help 50 individuals to undertake projects that introduce Jewish music to many communities up and down the country. You can hear Klezmer bands in the streets of Devon and new Jewish music in hospices and prisons.
At the birthday party, everyone was stirred to their roots by the beautiful Yiddish songs performed by Adrienne Cooper and Zalman Mlotek, of New York. They are universally admired for making the Yiddish song repertoire specially accessible to an English speaking audience of today. Everyone was inspired to continue to support JMI in its endeavours to keep the Jewish heritage alive and make it significant for a new generation of Jews and non-Jews alike.
JMI Millennium Award Scheme
Nationwide projects in Jewish music
Joan Noble, the JMI Award Scheme Manager and her team recently held a training day at SOAS for all award winners. Millennium Commission members present were delighted with the commitment of the awardees to taking Jewish music out of its usual environment and introducing it to communities far and wide. Many award winners will give free workshops, concerts and talks to community groups and all will lodge a full report of their projects, with the score of the composition, copy of the published CD or booklet or a film of their concert performance in the JMI library for future reference. The ability of JMI to give these awards has given an enormous boost to the interest nationwide in Jewish music. JMI's deep concern now, is how they will be able to continue to assist those who ask for financial help for equally interesting projects in the future. Funding is urgently needed to continue to make grants. Just to give you an idea of the wide range of projects in progress, below are some of the latest award winners and their projects.
Vivien Ellis: The Jewish Heritage in London's East End
Sophie Solomon: Hip Hop Khasene
Julie Brown and Alex Rehding: Music and racial politics
Mike Gerber: Jazz and Jews
Rohan Kriwaczek: an Indo-Semitic classical collaboration
Henry Atterbury: Beethoven and the emancipation of Jewish music
Helena Lieber: from ashes towards Teshuvah (Spiritual return)
|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.|