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Track(s) taken from CDA67571

Berceuse sfaradite

1939; arrangement of the Ladino folksong Mama no yo tengo visto

Hagai Shaham (violin), Arnon Erez (piano)
Recording details: October 2004
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Eric Wen
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: February 2007
Total duration: 3 minutes 22 seconds


'Both composers are served extremely well on this beautifully recorded disc, Hagai Shaham and Arnon Erez in particular giving a totally convincing performance of Bloch's well-known Baal Shem … The overall impact is all the more powerful for the sure sense of pacing both artists demonstrate through the recital' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Such a fine soloist as Hagai Shaham … The Baal Shem Suite … receives an excellent performance. Shaham projects the ectsasy of the climaxes marvellously, underpinned by evocative fanfares from Arnon Erez's piano … This remains a fine release of worthwhile and relatively neglected repertoire' (International Record Review)

'Shaham's fiddle weeps with an expressive rich, dark tone, especially in the Nigun movement…' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Hagai Shaham possesses the ideal kind of silver-toned, narrow-vibratoed purity to make these occasionally melodramatic pieces ring true. Rather than fall back on a well-upholstered, opulent sound, he streamlines his tone, adding a special kind of intensity to Bloch's soaring climaxes. Shaham strikes just the right balance between interpretative cool and swashbuckling bravado in Baal Shem … the recording is excellent throughout' (The Strad)

'The vibrancy of Hagai Shaham’s tone and his willingness to engage in expressive devices, apparent from the first notes of Ernest Bloch’s Baal Shem, promises visceral performances of commanding penetration. That the tone, however refined, also possesses a sprinkling of grit hardly detracts from the strong-mindedness of his readings … Hagai Shaham sounds as much at home in this kind of ethnic material as in the hushed sections of the second movement or in the bold, virtuosic gestures of the third. By contrast with the Solo Sonata, Ben-Haïm’s two pieces for violin and piano present contrasting faces of romanticism, the Berceuse sfaradite, a rich melodious outpouring, and the Improvisation and Dance, a flamboyant showpiece. Those drawn in any way to these composers should find Shaham’s advocacy convincing. Strongly recommended, however, to all kinds of listeners' (Fanfare, USA)

'Shaham reveals a penetrating intensity, exalted and colorful at once' (Audiophile Audition, USA)

'These [performances] are truly inspiring. Shaham is unafraid of liquid, quick portamenti in the Baal Shem Suite and he is at pains to balance Hebraic fervour with high lying lyricism. The harp-like ripple of the second movement is a testament to Erez’s involving and colour-conscious playing. Shaham intelligently varies his tone here – this is not an understated Nigun but it is one that says a lot without saying too much. The joyous buoyancy and culminatory exultation of the finale show how adept the duo has been throughout – they pace the suite extremely well … The playing is insightful, expressive, and thoroughly idiomatic. These two musicians make an articulate and important statement about both composers’ work' (MusicWeb International)

'Performances are simply electrifying, and the relentless tension that they create is almost unbearable. A vividly recorded and superbly documented disc all round' (Classical.net)

'Les interprètes abordent ces deux compositeurs avec la ferveur à la fois distanciée et fiévruese qu'ils mettaient au service de Grieg. Ils imposent une grande liberté rhapsodique, mais sans rien de maniéré. Le son de Hagai Shaham est puissant, à la fois bourru et attendri' (Le Monde de la Musique, France)

Hagai Shaham complète l'intégrale des oeuvres pour violon et piano de Bloch, commencée avec succès il y a deux ans. On retrouve dans le Bal Shem dans la Suite hébräique et dans les deux très rares Suites pour le violin seul, les mêmes qualités que dans les ouvrages déjà gravés: archet conquérant, superbe sonorité, phrasés élégants et intelligemment pensés donnant à l'interprétation sensualité ou spiritualité. Les trois oeuvres de Ben-Haïm—Sonate pour violin seul, Bercuese sfaradite et Improvisation et Dance —bénéficent également d'une lecture de tout premier plan … Toujours exemplaire, Anon Erez au piano, anticipe toutes les intentions de son partenaire' (Classica, France)
Paul Ben-Haïm absorbed oriental Jewish music through collaboration with Bracha Zfira, a Yemenite singer, for whom Ben-Haïm arranged some thirty-five songs between 1939 and 1951. One of the arrangements, that of the Ladino folksong Mama yo no tengo visto made in 1939, is the Berceuse sfaradite, one of Ben-Haïm’s most popular works. This beautiful lullaby was arranged in 1945 for violin and piano, as well as for various combinations of voices and instruments. The violin’s beguiling, undulating melody unfolds smoothly over lilting arpeggios, spiced by some caustic dissonances, and repeated in different registers, notably in the upper range where the melody gains a glowing bell-like resonance. Some dialogue enlivens the texture with the piano, which presents the melody before the violin’s final statement, which is sustained magically like a silken thread on a high trill, as the piano comes to rest in the dark and peaceful bass.

from notes by Malcolm Miller © 2007

Paul Ben-Haïm assimila la musique juive orientale en collaborant avec Bracha Zfira, une chanteuse yéménite pour laquelle il arrangea quelque trente-cinq chants de 1939 à 1951. L’un de ces arrangements, celui du chant populaire ladino Mama yo no tengo visto (1939), devint la Berceuse sfaradite, l’une des œuvres les plus connues de Ben-Haïm. En 1945, cette splendide berceuse fut arrangée pour violon et piano, mais aussi pour diverses combinaisons vocalo-instrumentales. La mélodie enjôleuse, onduleuse du violon se déploie en douceur par-dessus des arpèges harmonieux, épicés de dissonances caustiques et répétés dans différents registres, notamment à l’aigu, où l’air se pare d’une radieuse résonance carillonnante. Un dialogue enjolive la texture avec le piano, qui présente la mélodie avant l’énonciation finale du violon, laquelle est magiquement tenue, tel un fil de soie sur un trille aigu, pendant que le piano vient se poser dans la basse, sombre et paisible.

extrait des notes rédigées par Malcolm Miller © 2007
Français: Hypérion

Paul Ben-Haïm absorbierte orientalische jüdische Musik durch Kollaboration mit Bracha Zfira, einer jemenitischen Sängerin, für die er zwischen 1939 und 1951 etwa 35 Lieder arrangierte. Eines dieser Arrangements, das des Ladino (sephardischen) Volkslieds Mama yo no tengo visto von 1939 ist die Berceuse sfaradite, eines der populärsten Werke von Ben-Haïm. Dieses anmutige Wiegenlied wurde 1945 für Violine und Klavier sowie für verschiedene Kombinationen von Stimmen und Instrumenten bearbeitet. Die verführerische, wogende Melodie der Violine entfaltet sich geschmeidig über beschwingten Arpeggien, die mit einigen beißenden Dissonanzen gewürzt sind und in verschiedenen Registern wiederholt werden, besonders im hohen Register, wo die Melodie eine leuchtend glockenhafte Resonanz bekommt. Dialoge beleben das Gefüge mit dem Klavier, das die Melodie noch einmal präsentiert, bevor die Violine zuletzt wie ein magisch gespannter Seidenfaden auf einem hohen Triller anhält, während das Klavier im dunklen, friedvollen Bass zur Ruhe kommt.

aus dem Begleittext von Malcolm Miller © 2007
Deutsch: Renate Wendel

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