The Babylonian Talmud counsels that at times of bitterest cold, it is best to say, “Such is the way of the world,” and then “observe eight days of festivity.” One such ideal post-winter solstice festivity for Manhattanites is a January 11 Carnegie Hall recital by America’s sweetheart of song, soprano Renée Fleming, in a program of German Jewish composers of art songs, including Arnold Schoenberg, Alexander Zemlinsky, and the ever-schmaltzy Erich Wolfgang Korngold.
This autumn’s Manhattan concert calendar contains celebrations both of Jewish musical youth and age, as if offering alternating songs of innocence and experience. Experience comes first, from October 19 to 24, when Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola presents an 85th birthday party for Newport Jazz Festival impresario George Wein. Among the celebrants will be Jazz Jews such as the trumpeter Randy Brecker and sax and flute player Lew Tabackin.
Visitors to the America-Israel Cultural Foundation website see bad news and good in anticipation of this year’s gala fundraiser January 10th at Carnegie Hall. The bad news, announced in a banner: “Unfortunately, the bulk of AICF’s endowments were invested with Bernard L. Madoff Securities.” The good news, AICF is one of the few charities to underestimate its own impact, since its slogan, “Building a Better Israel through the Arts,” is far too modest. Since 1939, the AICF has handed out over 100 million dollars to Israeli artists and cultural institutions, thereby making the world a better place, not just Israel.