As this fall’s concert season kicks off, Manhattanites in search of classical performances with a dollop of Yiddishkeit will have a delightful array of choices, starting with the genial ghost of beloved Austrian Jewish violinist Fritz Kreisler, which presides over the New York Philharmonic’s Opening Gala. On September 27 at Avery Fisher Hall, Itzhak Perlman will play Kreisler’s “Tambourin Chinois,” which some music snobs might see as an unadventurously musty selection for such a high-profile orchestral outing, but Kreisler’s legion of fans will be ever-grateful.
Like a sepia-tinged version of VH1’s ‘Behind the Music,’ a new documentary uses Jascha Heifetz’s home movies to flesh out the picture of a man who played the violin like a god.
One poet called autumn the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,” but some New York concerts redolent with Yiddishkeit focus on the pleasant shock of the new, not misty mellowness. On September 16 at The Austrian Cultural Forum, a new arrangement of the Adagio movement from Mahler’s unfinished Tenth symphony will be conducted in two concerts by its arranger, Michel Galante.
Nothing distracts more from brutal estival heat than revitalizing musical discoveries with a refreshing dose of Yiddishkeit on CD. Turin-born Italian Jewish composer Leone Sinigaglia was admired by Fritz Kreisler and Arturo Toscanini, but fell into obscurity after dying at age 75 in 1944, just as he was being arrested in hospital by Nazis. A Toccata Classics release includes Sinigaglia’s mellifluous Violin Sonata and Cavatina in G, both ably played by soloist Solomia Soroka, accompanied by pianist Phillip Silver.
The virtually forgotten Lithuanian-Jewish composer Joseph Achron (1886-1943) is getting a premiere this weekend in the German city of Brandenburg an der Havel.
The monumentally traumatic exile of European Jews during Fascist times was paralleled in some ways by the inner trauma of Jewish music students saddled with sadistic teachers. This is the surprising conclusion of a discursive, artless new autobiography, more case history than memoir, “Of Exile and Music: A Twentieth Century Life” (Purdue University Press) by Eva Mayer Schay, a longtime violinist (now retired) in the English National Opera orchestra.