Melody Macher


Ignaz Friedman: Great Jewish Pianist

By Benjamin Ivry

The Polish Jewish pianist Ignaz Friedman may not be a household name, but his majestic artistry, honored by a brilliantly researched new biography, “Ignaz Friedman: Romantic Master Pianist” makes him of urgent interest to anyone who loves piano music.Read More


Anything You Can Do

By Will Friedwald

In jazz terminology, it’s known as “call and response”: The trumpet section plays a few notes, which are answered immediately by the saxophones. Or, a soloist will give out with a four-bar phrase and then hear it echoed back at him by the full ensemble. Call and response is as essential to big band swing as the idea of “theme and variations” is to classical music.Read More


Asher Roth Raps Suburbia, Campus Life

By Adam Sacks

Success has been easy for Asher Roth, but respect is proving more elusive. A 21st century MySpace star, Roth owes his success almost entirely to the Internet. Hailing from suburban Morrisville, Pa., Roth — and his educated flow, was first discovered on MySpace by the producer Steve Rifkind. Without a song on radio or a video on TV, Roth had a widget of his infectious song “I Love College” downloaded 2.7 million times.Read More


Pale Dreadlock Sabra

By Jordana Horn

The idea that Raichel would become a de facto ambassador of Ethiopian music to Israel seems somewhat incongruous. The fact that he’s taken that role one step further to become an ambassador of Israeli music to the world, in contrast, seems comparatively logical.Read More


Arthur Laurents: Broadway’s Last Ferocious Man Opens a New Version of 'West Side Story'

By Benjamin Ivry

In a showbiz world, where backbiting and hissy fits are a way of life, Arthur Laurents, who has directed a revival of “West Side Story” that opens on March 19 on Broadway, stands apart. Laurents, who wrote the original book of “West Side Story,” among many other plays and screenplays, will be 92 on Bastille Day (July 14), but he is no patriarch in the sere and yellow leaf.Read More


Felix Mendelssohn: Music That ‘Keeps Working’

By Raphael Mostel

Felix Mendelssohn was still alive when the New York Philharmonic was founded in 1842. “He most certainly influenced our orchestra from its inception,” Philharmonic archivist Barbara Haws told the Forward. “Our very first program featured Mendelssohn. In fact, before his death in 1848, a total of six Mendelssohn works were performed in our first 14 concerts. And we gave the U.S. premieres of most of Mendelssohn’s works, like the Violin Concerto.”Read More


Leonard Cohen: Ambiguous Hallelujahs

By Benjamin Ivry

On February 19, famed Canadian Jewish singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, 74, will be performing his first New York concert in more than 15 years.Read More


Murray Perahia: An Eternal Sephardic Jewish Recital

By Benjamin Ivry

A New York native who relocated to London a couple of decades ago, pianist Murray Perahia is about to launch his latest American recital tour. At 61, Perahia remains a lifelong student with a quest for emotional depth that has expanded steadily over the years. Unlike other pianists who merely record Beethoven, he is preparing his own edition of the sonatas and has always claimed that music’s spiritual challenges far outweigh any technical obstacles.Read More


Treasuring Felix, Embodying Moses’ Enlightenment in Music

By Raphael Mostel

Why do we still feel the need to defend Felix Mendelssohn even in this, the bicentennial year of his birth? In his all too brief lifetime, he was deeply appreciated as the musician most admired by other musicians: as a person, as a colleague, as a performer, but especially as a composer. Mendelssohn was perhaps the greatest musical prodigy who ever lived (Mozart was still imitating others at an age when Mendelssohn was already composing mature masterpieces). In his 38 years, he wrote a huge body of major works that have never disappeared from concert stages.Read More


Inner Fire, Outer Ice: The Willful Magic of János Starker

By Benjamin Ivry

Legend portrays some Hungarian-Jewish musicians as belligerent extroverts, like the late conductors Georg Solti, nicknamed “the screaming skull” by his Chicago Symphony musicians, and George Szell, dubbed “Doctor Cyclops” by his Cleveland Orchestra ensemble. Yet, the mighty cellist János Starker, born in 1924 to a Hungarian-Jewish family in Budapest, has always looked impassive, in total control, when performing.Read More





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