Richard Locker

Richard Locker: Jewish Cello Masterpieces Volume II

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Artist: Richard Locker

Artist: Richard Locker
Title: Jewish Cello Masterpieces Volume II
Product Type: COMPACT DISCS

Cellist Richard Locker continues his extensive and highly acclaimed survey of Jewish music with a varied and unusual selection of pieces. There are 20 works (over 72 minutes of music) including idiomatically Jewish classical music, Yiddish theatre, and Klezmer songs, four classical works: Beethoven's Judas Maccabeus Variations, Saint Säens' Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta from the opera Samson and Delilah, and two songs, Franz Schubert's Ständchen and Jules Massenet's Elegie. (The Schubert and Massenet were frequently sung by Yossele Rosenblatt and other great cantors in both Hebrew and Yiddish.) Critics have been unanimous in commenting on the fine recorded sound of the CD. Reviews for JEWISH CELLO MASTERPIECES VOLUME II ...this is a genuinely lovely disc...lovingly played and well recorded...Richard Locker plays with a real feeling for the kind of inflection that this music requires, and his tightly focused (but never dry) sound keeps the music from getting maudlin. Critics like to speak about music or music-making that has genuine sentiment without becoming sentimental, and I think this disc walks that line perfectly...Well balanced sound, neither too close nor too distant, rounds out the production of a very pleasurable CD. Henry Fogel ...the Locker's reading of the variations is an absolute delight. Tempos and rhythms are played with an elastic, dance-like spring, and Richard's full-throated cello tone projects Beethoven's melodic lines in perfect silhouette against the engaging keyboard part, so deftly choreographed by Martha. You may have heard many performances of this piece, but you will hear none better than this one by Richard and Martha Locker. Locker's solo cello transcriptions of the cantorial cantillations are exquisitely played and truly moving. Jerry Dubins Locker's eloquence, depth of feeling and richness of tone are matched in those pieces that call for accompanist by his niece Martha on piano, but never to more amazing effect as in Ravel's Two Hebrew Melodies and Zeitlin's Eli Zion. Locker also makes the Five Cantorial Solos of Solomon Rozumni deeply felt soliloquies...This is an excellent, well-played disc, recommended to fanciers of the cello as well as those who most appreciate this kind of music. Lynn René Bayley Richard and Martha Locker, who play cello and piano, have given us another delightful recording of Jewish music to enjoy on festive days. Their first Jewish Cello Masterpieces was on the Top Ten List at New York's Jewish Week when it came out in 2003, and I am sure that the second volume will be equally well received....Although we cannot be sure that the great cantor Solomon Rozumni composed all his solos, he most certainly sang them many times. Played on the cello, they add unusual musical colors to this fine recording. Pianist Martha Locker, who has merely accompanied the Achron, Ravel, and Zeitlin works, really comes into her own territory with the Beethoven Variations on a Theme from Handel's Judas Maccabeus. Here, her virtuosity is let loose in all it's pianistic glory. Her fingers flow over the keys with myriad gradations of tone while the cello responds with equal virtuosity. These musicians seem to think as one and they play with a single mind...Both cellist and pianist are first-rate virtuosos and their performances on this disc are exquisite. The sound is pristine and the ambience gives the listener the feeling of being in an intimate concert hall with good acoustics. No one who is interested in Jewish music should miss out on this beautiful recording. Maria Nockin --Fanfare 2014 Liner notes B'rosh hashono - Joseph 'Yossele' Rosenblatt (1882-1933) An unaccompanied cello brings to life a magnificent solo cantorial recitative penned by the undisputed "King of Cantors" during the Golden Age of this art form. Yossele Rosenblatt's stunningly unique voice garnered worldwide fame thanks to his extensive career in the recording studio and on the Jewish and general concert stages, alongside his many acclaimed synagogue appearances. He recorded 182 pieces and would have recorded many more, had he not died at the age of 51 while being filmed for a documentary in Israel. The vast majority of the records were of his own synagogue works for cantor and/or male choir. The latter numbered nearly 500 pieces, including the 26 solo recitatives in his only printed collection, published in Hamburg in 1907 and reprinted in New York in 1927-in which the current piece appears. Rosenblatt recorded only seven items from this book, and "B'rosh hashono" was not among them; Richard Locker's interpretation may well be it's first commercial recording. The composition combines operatic recitative and declamation with a variety of improvisational cantorial styles, and-most typical of "Yossele"-it has many short sequential passages, which helps his pieces remain in the listener's ear. Such sequences are particularly apt for a setting of this disquieting High Holiday liturgical text, with it's many parallel phrases: On Rosh Hashanah it is written; on Yom Kippur it is sealed: How many lives will end, how many will begin. Who will live, who will die; who will die naturally and who suddenly- Whether by fire or water, by sword or beast, By famine or drought, by earthquake or epidemic ... ... Who will live peacefully, who will suffer; Who will live in poverty, who will live in wealth; Who will sink to the bottom, and who will rise to the top. Four works by Joseph Achron (1886-1943) In 1908 a group of former students of Rimsky-Korsakov formed the St. Petersburg Society for Jewish Folk Music. It's aim was to research and collect Jewish music in Russia with the goal of educating the public, as well as to compose and perform original art music based on the collected material. A virtuoso violinist, Joseph Achron was also among the most prolific composers in the Society, whose activities in several cities and in various forms weathered wars and political upheavals to last through 1929. Arnold Schoenberg thought very highly of Achron's works, and he was a prime exponent of the New Jewish School composers such as Ernest Bloch, Solomon Rosowsky, Leo Zeitlin, and Joachim Stutschewsky. A. Canzonetta, Op.52 #2 Originally published in 1923 for voice and piano, this canzonetta was also scored by Achron for violin or cello. The lyrics are from "September on the Avenue" by Hebrew poet Avraham Ben-Yitzhak (1883-1950). Dreamy lights / pale lights / sink at my feet Soft shadows / tired shadows / caress my path From bare boughs / a gentle breeze gives voice / then a hush The final leaf / floats downward / trembles a moment / then silence Despite the melancholy tone of the poem, most traces of sadness disappear in the slightly faster instrumental version. Indeed, the many sequential phrases and the occasional leaps to the octave lend a Hasidic flavor to the piece-whose inconclusive final measure sounds the only note of despondency. B. Hebrew Melody, Op.33 Written in 1911 to celebrate his admission to the St. Petersburg Society, it was among Achron first Jewish compositions. It has also turned out to be his most performed work to this day. Like the "Hebrew Lullaby" and the "Scher" which follow, the "Hebrew Melody" is a setting of an older folk motive, in this case a Hasidic tune of yearning. An authentic Hasidic melody (or nigun) is generally wordless, even if it later happens to acquire a text. A deeply felt instrumental piece such as this can be it's apotheosis. C. Hebrew Lullaby, Op.35 #2 The melody for this piece comes from the Yiddish lullaby "Unter dem kinds vigele," and unlike the Canzonetta, Achron's only setting of it was for violin and piano. This lullaby text was also famously used by Abraham Goldfaden as the basis for his song "Rozhinkes mit mandlen." Under baby's cradle stands a little white goat; The goat went off to trade in raisins and almonds. Raisins and almonds are very sweet, My baby will stay nice and healthy. The brooding mood of Achron's interpretation

Tracks:
1.1 B'rosh Hashono, Joseph Yossele Rosenblatt. - Richard Locker, Cello
1.2 Canzonetta, Op. 59 #2, Joseph Achron - Richard Locker, Cello
1.3 Hebrew Melody, Op. 33. - Richard Locker, Cello with Martha Locker, Piano
1.4 Hebrew Lullaby, Op. 35 #2. - Richard Locker, Cello with Martha Locker, Piano
1.5 Scher, Op 42. - Richard Locker, Cello with Martha Locker, Piano
1.6 Kaddisch, Maurice Ravel - Richard Locker, Cello with Martha Locker, Piano
1.7 L Enigma Eternelle. - Richard Locker, Cello with Martha Locker, Piano
1.8 Eli Zion, Leo Zeitlin. - Richard Locker, Cello with Martha Locker, Piano
1.9 Boruch K'vod, Solomon Rozumni. - Richard Locker, Cello
1.10 Boi Vesholom. - Richard Locker, Cello
1.11 Yoseif. - Richard Locker, Cello
1.12 Mosheh. - Richard Locker, Cello
1.13 Vehoyu. - Richard Locker, Cello
1.14 Judas MacCabeus Variations, Woo 45, Ludwig Van Beethoven. - Richard Locker, Cello with Martha Locker, Piano
1.15 Élégie, Jules Massenet. - Richard Locker, Cello with Martha Locker, Piano
1.16 Ständchen, Franz Schubert. - Richard Locker, Cello with Martha Locker, Piano
1.17 Mon Coeur S'ouvre À Ta from Samson and Delilah, Camille Saint-Saëns. - Richard Locker, Cello with Martha Locker, Piano
1.18 A Mother S Prayer, David Meyerowitz. - Richard Locker, Cello with Martha Locker, Piano
1.19 Doina ; Street Melody, Trad., Arr. Edward Huys Jones. - Richard Locker, Cello with Martha Locker, Piano
1.20 Dos Yiddishe Lied, Sholom Secunda - Richard Locker, Cello with Martha Locker, Piano

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