As summertime slowly approaches, concerts of music both minimal and maximal will enchant Manhattanites in search of aural Yiddishkeit. On April 29 at the Walter Reade Theater, flutist Claire Chase will perform Steve Reich’s “Vermont Counterpoint” in its version for flute and tape; the alternate version, for eleven flutes, would doubtless exceed even the gifted Chase’s capacities. She will be joined for other, less minimalist, works on the program by the pianist Jacob Greenberg. On May 1 at Carnegie Hall, Reich’s mini-fluting is exchanged for emotional maxing-out in the form of Gustav Mahler’s songs interpreted by baritone Matthias Goerne with the superstar pianist Leif Ove Andsnes.
Classical music events both before and after Purim (on March 8) focus on dialogues redolent of Yiddishkeit, as New Yorkers and others will discover. On February 10 at Weill Recital Hall pianist Lia Jensen-Abbott will perform Fanny Mendelssohn’s “The Year,” a work inspired by the composer’s relationship with her brother Felix. The Hungarian Jewish composer György Ligeti described his 1951 “Sonata for solo cello” as: “[a] dialogue. Because it’s like two people, a man and a woman, conversing.” Ligeti’s sonata converses on February 10 at Bargemusic with cellist Nicholas Canellakis.
From Sukkot to Hanukkah, this year-end’s Manhattan classical concerts featuring Yiddishkeit contain a remarkable range of music, old and new. “Glamour Girl,” a work by Lukas Ligeti, son of the Hungarian Jewish composer György Ligeti, will be heard on November 5 at Zankel Hall played by The Bang on a Can All-Stars. Ligeti lives in Bushwick but plays in an electronica band based in Burkina Faso. Bang on a Can is anchored by clarinetist Evan Ziporyn, whose website notes his boyhood inspiration derived from listening to his “grandmother’s Yiddish socialist chorus.”
As May rolls around for Manhattan music lovers, ‘tis the season for appreciating the works of George Kleinsinger, whose much-loved orchestral work “Tubby the Tuba” will be performed on April 30 in the Peter Jay Sharp Theater by The Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corps Symphonic Band.
Even as summer winds down, classical CD releases continue apace.
On October 15th, the University of Rochester Press will publish “György Kurtág: Three Interviews and Ligeti Homages”, a tribute to the 83-year-old Hungarian Jewish composer with many charming details about his life, such as that around age six, he hoped to write a “Jewish symphony in E minor with the title ‘Eternal Hope.’”