Joachim Stutschewsky (1891–1982) confronted his identity as a Jewish musician by melding the Mediterranean sounds of his adopted Israel with the early klezmer influences of his youth in Ukraine. He gave his own instrument, the cello, rhapsodic treatment in the explicitly cantorial and folk-infused short pieces on this disc (the first dedicated to his music from a western label), with the piano providing enough harmonic surprises to elevate these simple melodies to sophisticated concert works. The two trios, The Klezmer’s Wedding and Hassidic Fantasy, are expertly arranged suites of nigunim (tunes) and freilachs (joyous dances).
Featuring: Musicians of the Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival Aron Zelkowicz, cello Luz Manriquez, piano Jennifer Orchard, violin Marissa Byers, clarinet
Hassidic Suite (1946) https://d3i77y9w5vf4up.cloudfront.net/TOCC0314/05.mp3
Six Israeli Melodies, arr. Stutschewsky (1962) https://d3i77y9w5vf4up.cloudfront.net/TOCC0314/13.mp3
Catalogue No: TOCC0314EAN/UPC: 5060113443144Release Date: 01.04.2016Composer: Joachim Stutschewsky Artists: Aron Zelkowicz, Jennifer Orchard, Luz Manriquez, Marissa Byers, Musicians of the Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival
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Ken Meltzer :
‘It’s not surprising that Stutschewsky’s own instrument, the cello, frequently assumes the role of the musical voice of the Jewish people. For that instrument, Stutschewsky composed music of haunting lyricism and an overarching sense of dignity. … All of the artists on this recording, members of The Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival, acquit themselves with the utmost distinction. Cellist Aron Zelkowicz’s lovely singing tone, pristine legato, and heartfelt phrasing are ideal for this music. And while I’ve emphasized the lyrical nature of Stutschewsky’s cello writing, there are considerable technical challenges as well. Zelkowicz dispatches them with great facility. Pianist Luz Manriquez is a worthy collaborator, both from an interpretive and technical perspective. Violinist Jennifer Orchard and clarinetist Marissa Byers are exemplary in their single appearances. All of the musicians achieve a superb balance between the intense emotional content of the music and a sense of proportion and restraint. … In short, this is a first-rate musical experience in every way. All of the other elements of this Toccata Classics release match its high level of musical achievement. The recorded sound, offering the perspective of a choice seat in a smaller recital hall, ideally balances warmth, intimacy, and detail. Racheli Galay’s detailed, informative, and beautifully written liner notes on Stutschewsky’s life and music are superb. … Bravi to all concerned.’ —Fanfare, November/December 2016
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