Joseph Achron: Two Songs, Op. 52
by Sovali & Paul Prenen
Sublime early 20th Century art songs to Hebrew poetry by Jacob Fichman and Avraham Ben-Yitzhak.
Achron’s Two Songs, Opus 52 were composed in 1922 and published by Jibneh, Berlin – Jerusalem in 1923. They are dedicated to Achron’s wife, singer Marie Raphof, who premiered the songs in St. Petersburg in 1922.
The first song “Yom Yom Ani Holekh Lim’onekh” conveys one’s thoughts and feelings that arise on a daily walk to the beloved’s home. The second song “Canzonetta. Elul Bashderah” conveys the joy of contemplating the autumn light and falling leaves while strolling along an avenue.
Achron used tropes (melodic motives) derived from Lithuanian Biblical cantillations as basic elements for the songs and developed them in contemporary counterpoint and harmony. The tropes were a never-ending source of inspiration for him.
He made an arrangement of the song “Canzonetta” for violin or cello and piano, which was also published by Jibneh, Berlin / Jerusalem in 1923.
Read more at the Curtain Call for the St. Petersburg Jewish Music Society (1908) – 100th Anniversary.
Musicians’ short resumes
Sovali (Sofie van Lier) has been working with Paul Prenen for many years, and they form an ideal musical partnership. They joined forces on recordings of songs by Bernard van Dieren, Mieczyslaw Weinberg, and composers of the St. Petersburg Society for Jewish Folk Music: Joseph Achron, Mikhail Gnesin, Moshe Milner, Alexander Veprik, and Alexander Krein.
Sovali studied singing with Gerhard Meyer in the Netherlands and with Jon Frederick West and Eleanor Steber in New York. She got a Master’s degree in musicology at the University of Amsterdam, where she studied with Frits Noske and Ton de Leeuw. She has given solo recitals in the Netherlands and abroad, performed in music-theater productions, film and was featured on several recordings including “Bernard van Dieren Songs” with Paul Prenen (BVHaast), the Klezmokum CDs “Le Dor Va Dor” and “From Ancient and Newer Roots” (BVHaast).
Paul Prenen studied with Jan Wijn and Edith Lateiner at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam, where he graduated cum laude. At present he divides his talents between the concert hall and the theatre, in addition to his piano career he composes film and theatre music. He arranged operas for Frank Groothof, Opera Trionfo, and the Combattimento Consort. He also composed music for the Werkteater, Gebroeders Flint, the Children’s Theatre performances of O`ma Marée and two operas, “Hadjemaar” and “Katharina de Bronovo.”
Achron’s Two Songs, Op. 52 were recorded in the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ in Amsterdam by audio engineer Dick Lucas in 2007. They were first released in 2008 on the CD “Curtain Call for the St. Petersburg Jewish Music Society (1908) – 100th Anniversary”. The songs were revised and remastered by Artur Stawski (Sonic Science Lab) in 2020.
© ℗ 2020 Joodse Muziek Projecten
Recording: Dick Lucas, 2007
Revision and remastering: Sonic Science Lab, 2020
Graphic design: Basia Knobloch, 2020
© All rights reserved
Tags: classical, art songs, early twentieth century, hebrew, jewish music, russia, amsterdam
“The Sovali-Prenen duo gave a magnificent performance, full of love for the music“.
Joseph Achron: Three Songs, Op. 53
Moshe Milner: Vocal Suite to Y.L. Peretz’s Ten Children’s Songs
Curtain Call for the St. Petersburg Jewish Music Society (1908) – 100th Anniversary
Sun and Rain – Jewish Songs and Chamber Music by Mieczyslaw Weinberg, Veniamin Basner and Dmitri Shostakovich
Tribute to Mikhail Gnesin – Songs and Chamber Music