Joachim STUTSCHEWSKY: Chamber Music

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).

Musicians of the Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival
Aron Zelkowicz, cello
Luz Manriquez, piano
Jennifer Orchard, violin
Marissa Byers, clarinet

3 reviews for Joachim STUTSCHEWSKY: Chamber Music

  1. :

    ‘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.’

    —Ken Meltzer, Fanfare, November/December 2016

  2. :

    ‘The performers on this disc are wonderfully suited to this repertoire and impart their obvious admiration and enjoyment of the music. This communicates to the listener making for a truly pleasurable and rewarding experience. Aron Zelkowicz is to be singled out for especial praise for masterminding the project and assembling such able colleagues to bring this music to life. Life is what is abundantly on show here in all its joyful as well as its sad and reflective moods. A great achievement all round.’

    —Steve Arloff, MusicWeb International

  3. :

    ‘Es ist eine wahre Freude, diesen spielfreudigen und musikalisch-musikantischen Musikern zuzuhören, sich von der tiefen Emotionalität der Melodien mitnehmen zu lassen und immer aufs Neue einzutauchen in die Welt der Jahrhunderte alten Klezmer-Tradition, die uns heute in ihrer Unmittelbarkeit ganz besonders ansprechen kann […] Auch wenn er die zeitgenössische Musik eines Schönberg, Berg und Webern direkt vor Ort in Wien miterlebt hat, sie sogar mit aus der Taufe hob, war Stutschewsky doch bald bewusst, dass sein Weg ein anderer, ein scheinbar rückwärts gewandter und doch andererseits so zutiefst menschlich verbundener war und sein würde, was seine Musik – zumal, wenn sie so überzeugend und hinreißend dargeboten wird – zu einer berührenden, überzeugenden Musenoffenbarung macht.’

    —Ulrich Hermann, The New Listener

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