Music and Vision homepage

CD Spotlight

Highly Stimulating

Harpsichord music
by Israeli composers -
reviewed by

'... admirably played ...'

Harpsichord Music by Israeli Composers. © 2007 Albany Records

This CD is my first foray into this fascinating world of Israeli harpsichord music which contains a pretty comprehensive cross section of composers ranging from the more traditional sounds of Paul Ben-Haim to the rather fierce modernism of Uri Brenner.

Minkin writes the notes herself and before you pop the CD into your player, I would certainly recommend that you read the booklet as it will provide an intriguing background to the music that is on offer here.

Alexander's Improvisations on a Persian Song are interesting to hear and although just a couple of minutes long, there is interest and variety. Braun's Four Keyboard Pieces are also quite varied with the first one, Grave, particularly atmospheric.

Listen -- Yehezkel Braun: Grave (Four Keyboard Pieces)
(track 3, 1:40-2:30) © 2007 Albany Records

As I already hinted, Uri Brenner's work inhabits an altogether different sound world with some biting music especially apparent in 7-11 and Much Later, dating from 2006. The 7am Morning Prelude is particularly interesting for the strange use it makes of the solo harpsichord.

Listen -- Uri Brener: 7am: The Morning Prelude (7-11, and Much Later ...)
(track 7, 0:00-0:31) © 2007 Albany Records

Dina Smorgonsky's contribution is also recent, with her Three Dances dating from 2007. Here there is significant emphasis on rhythm, and the work is pleasant enough to hear.

Listen -- Dina Smorgonsky: Allegro Barbaro
(track 12, 0:00-0:30) © 2007 Albany Records

The final three composers on this well-filled Albany disc date from after the 1967 Six Day War with Benjamin Bar-Am's Petite Suite also including a part for recorder which is admirably played by Drora Bruck.

Listen -- Benjamin Bar-Am: Larghetto (Petite Suite for Recorder and Harpsichord)
(track 15, 0:00-0:20) © 2007 Albany Records

Sergiu Natra's Variations are rather hard to bring off but Marina Minkin is an excellent exponent who certainly does not baulk at the Herculean task ahead of her. She is also delightful in the Ben-Haim piece where she is joined by Sariel and Feinstein on mandolin and guitar respectively; this is a rousing way to conclude a highly stimulating and interesting disc which should arouse considerable interest in a rather neglected area of Israeli musical heritage.

Listen -- Paul Ben-Haim: III (Sonata a tre)
(track 25, 3:20-4:57) © 2007 Albany Records

Copyright © 29 April 2009 Gerald Fenech,
Gzira, Malta





 << Music & Vision home      Recent CD reviews       Elaris Duo >>