The Jewish element in the music of the three composer-friends
Weinberg, Basner & Shostakovich - from folklore to subversive musical
Zun mit a regn (sun and rain) is a metaphor
for laughter and tears - part and parcel of Yiddish music - and a fitting
motto for a program dedicated to the three Russian composer-friends Mieczyslaw
Weinberg (Moisei Vainberg) (1919-1996), Veniamin Basner (1925-1996) and
Dimitri Shostakovich (1906-1975).
World War Two and the reign of terror in the Soviet Union had a deep impact
on the composers. They expressed themselves in their music. The music of
the persecuted Jewish people was their source of inspiration - an act of
courage in a period when open pronouncements could have fatal consequences.
It was often years before the works could be performed for the first time.
Now these extraordinary and intense works are performed by an ensemble of
four specialized musicians (with changeable personnel):
Sovali – soprano
Goldenblank / Alexej
Pevzner / Alla
Kim / Grigory Sedukh – violin
Alexander Oratovski / Wladislaw Warenberg – cello
Sander Sittig / Paul Prenen – piano
- 2004/2005: concert series throughout the Netherlands
supported by the VSBfonds, SNS, Reaal Fund, C.O.S., the Society for
the Welfare of the Israelites in the Netherlands, and the M.A.O.C. Gravin
van Bylandt Foundation.
- 2005/2006: concerts in various cities in the Netherlands
- 12-13 October 2006: concerts at the Shostakovich Centenary Festival in St.Petersburg at the Composers’ House and the Museum-Apartment N.A.Rimsky-Korsakov supported by the Wilhelmina E. Jansen Fund.
The Jewish songs by Weinberg, Basner and Shostakovich are the central line in this programme. Shostakovich’s cycle “From Jewish Folk Poetry” is widely known, but Weinberg’s and Basner’s Jewish songs are rarely performed. The programme also includes known and unknown instrumental works such as the Sonata for Cello Solo, No.1, Op. 72 by Weinberg, the Prelude and Fugue in F sharp-minor Op. 87, No. 8 for piano and the Second Piano Trio, Op. 67 (3rd and 4th movement) by Shostakovich, and Basner’s Poem, Op. 7, No. 1 for violin and piano.
Reactions to “Zun mit a regn”
“’Zun mit a regn’, splendid Yiddish lyrisism”
Synagogue in Enschede:
“The impressive programme went over very well with the audience.
Everyone found it fascinating to witness how original, little known or
completely unknown Jewish music was brought back to life..”
Jan Roelofs – review of the concert at Museum
‘De Buitenplaats’ in Eelde:
“How does one describe “atmosphere”? Not in terms
like professional or virtuoso, although these terms were certainly applicable.
In any case, the atmosphere of the concert was shaped by the Jewish sounds,
the melancholy and sometimes heartbreaking grief that could be heard,
by the sounds and rhythms that said: “I shall persevere and won’t
let them grind me down”, by the Yiddish lyrics that were translated
so professionally that they could almost be followed word for word.
Yet the atmosphere of course was predominantly determined by soprano Sovali,
violinist Alexej Pevzner, cellist Alexander Oratovski, and pianist Sander
Sittig… In a beautifully structured programme, with songs and instrumental
works (partly performed as solos), they showed their professionalism,
virtuosity and above all their pleasure in singing and playing. The warm
cello and violin sounds, the beautiful, supple and agile voice and the
pianist who conjured up a rich palette of sounds from the grand piano,
were important ingredients for the special atmospere of this concert….”
The DSCH Journal:
“This was an unforgettable event in which the musicians gave
their all. Bravo!”
(Download PDF file)
(Download PDF file)
> Review / interview Henny van der Groep DSCH Journal No. 23 July 2005 (PDF file)
> Interview with Sheila Gogol / LJG Dec. 2004 (PDF file)