Unofficially considered ‘the father of Jewish music’, Joel Engel (1868–1927) paved the way for a nationalist movement that used Yiddish and Hebrew folksongs as the basis of a serious art-form. Well before Kodály and Bartók in Hungary, Engel went out to the shtetls of eastern Europe, writing down the villagers’ songs and then composing music inspired by his excursions. This first-ever album of his music reveals the melodic immediacy of these songs and instrumental pieces, capturing the soul of a people and a centuries-old vanished culture.
Three Yiddish Songs for voice, oboe and piano, arr. Cantor Louis Danto
The Dybbuk: Suite, Op. 35, for clarinet, strings and percussion
2 Violinstücke, Op. 20
Fifty Children’s Songs for voice and piano (1923)
11 Children’s Songs (Yaldei Sadeh), Op. 36
Alexander Zhitomirsky (1881-1937)
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Catalogue No: TOCC0343EAN/UPC: 5060113443434Release Date: 01.08.2017Composer: Joel Engel Artists: Musicians of the Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival,
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Stephen Greenbank :
“A fair proportion of the works on this release feature the voice, and the American mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway, who also sings on Volume 1, here provides finely-tuned and stylish contributions. Alluring is the richness and warmth of her timbre. … She has an instinctive feel for this music, and an innate sensitivity to the ebb and flow of the line. … The four Children’s Songs, accompanied by Rodrigo Ojeda on piano, are melodically generous, and Calloway’s pure and flexible voice and clarity of diction is a strong selling point. … The 40 page booklet notes are exemplary. … Rachel Calloway’s sensitive and idiomatic performances cannot be faulted. The Musicians of the Pittsburgh Jewish Festival perform with enthusiasm and compelling musicianship, which is infectious. Added to this, the sound quality is crystal clear throughout. This is a thoroughly enjoyable disc, a joy from start to finish.” –Music Web International, September 2017
Norman Lebrecht :
“Toccata’s pioneering album of Engel’s work from the Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival is well worth exploring.” —Open Letters Monthly, September 2017
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