Joel Engel: Chamber Music and Folksongs

Catalogue No: TOCC0343
EAN/UPC: 5060113443434
Release Date: 2017-08-01
Composer: Joel Engel
Artists: Musicians of the Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival, Rachel Calloway

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.

Listen To This Recording:

    I. Kaplan

  1. Air (Jewish Melody)
  2. Joel Engel

  3. Adagio Misterioso, Op. 22, for violin, cello, harp and harmonium*
  4. Three Yiddish Songs for voice, oboe and piano, arr. Cantor Louis Danto

  5. Three Yiddish Songs. Nor nokh dir
  6. Ritshkele
  7. Akh! Nit gut!
  8. The Dybbuk: Suite, Op. 35, for clarinet, strings and percussion

  9. I. For What Reason? – From Song of Songs (Mipneh Mah? – M’schir Haschirim)
  10. II. Beggars’ Dances (M’choloth Hakabzanim)
  11. III. Wedding March (Marsch Chatunah)
  12. IV. The Veiling of the Bride (Chipuy Hakalah)
  13. V. Hassidic Melody (Nigun Chassidim)
  14. VI. From Song of Songs – For What Reason? (reprise)
  15. Hen hu hivtiach li for voice, violin and piano (1923)*
  16. 2 Violinstücke, Op. 20

  17. No. 1 Chabad Nigun, for cello and piano (arr. from violin version for cello by Uri Vardi)
  18. No. 2 Freylekhs, for violin and piano
  19. Fifty Children’s Songs for voice and piano (1923)

  20. No. 9 In der Suke
  21. No. 8 Shavues
  22. No. 1 Morgengebet*
  23. 11 Children’s Songs (Yaldei Sadeh), Op. 36

  24. No. 10 Zumerfeygele*
  25. Alexander Zhitomirsky (1881-1937)

  26. Az ikh volt gehat dem keysers oystres, Op. 4, No. 2, for voice, oboe and piano

*First Recordings

3 reviews for Joel Engel: Chamber Music and Folksongs

  1. :

    ‘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.’

    —Stephen Greenbank, MusicWeb International

  2. :

    ‘Toccata’s pioneering album of Engel’s work from the Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival is well worth exploring.’

    —Norman Lebrecht, Open Letters Monthly, September 2017

  3. :

    ‘Toccata is to be congratulated for enabling music lovers to get acquainted with repertoire such as this, that has struggled to be heard for far too long. The musicians are due an equal debt of thanks for their participation in this project to bring to the public Russian Jewish Classical music and especially the driving force that is Aron Zelkowicz who has the belief and the determination to see the project through. I don’t really feel comfortable singling anyone out for their performance though it would be remiss of me not to have mentioned the thoroughly superb voice of Rachel Calloway.

    It is altogether a brilliant disc of magical repertoire which you won’t find elsewhere so do seek it out and you’ll be completely won over. Earlier I said I imagine there’s plenty more of this music to come; I really hope I’m right.’

    —Steve Arloff, MusicWeb International

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