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Renewal and Revitalisation

London Jewish Male Choir's
80th anniversary concert


Renewal and revitalisation were the themes celebrated in the buoyant strains and syncopations of 'Sheheyanu', a jazzy Hebrew setting which formed the overture and encore to an extraordinary concert to mark the 80th Anniversary of the London Jewish Male Choir, at a capacity filled St John's Smith Square on Sunday 3 December 2006. The erudite and entertaining compere was Norman Lebrecht, deputy editor of The Evening Standard and eminent writer on music, who underlined the relevance of the event as part of the 350th Anniversary of the Re-settlement of Jews in Britain. It was a landmark celebration of one of the oldest Jewish-British cultural institutions still flourishing, and the professionally delivered programme, conducted with élan by new musical director Michael Etherton, reflected the original ideals of the choir formed in 1926, which has had a colourful and distinguished history on the concert platform as in recordings [see end of review]. At the heart of the group's repertoire are liturgical settings, yet recently they sing them in upbeat, modern choral arrangements. In addition to Israeli and Yiddish folk songs, the programme featured a refreshing new commission, a stirring setting of Eicha ('Lamentations'), by young composer Joseph Finlay, inaugural holder of the newly created position of Associate Composer.

LJMC and Michael Etherton rehearsing for the 3 December 2006 concert. Photo © 2006 Dan Jacobs
LJMC and Michael Etherton rehearsing for the 3 December 2006 concert. Photo © 2006 Dan Jacobs


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Copyright © 7 December 2006 Malcolm Miller, London UK


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