WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Zimro, A Broken Concert Tour - Music Of The New Jewish School For Sextet / Vogler String Quartet, Nemstov, Halevi


Release Date: 06/10/2008 
Label:  Hänssler Classic   Catalog #: 93209   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Sergei ProkofievGrigory Abramovich KreinJoseph AchronMitya Stillman,   ... 
Performer:  Chen HalevyJascha Nemstov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vogler String Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 16 Mins. 

In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

The disc’s title continues with “Music of the New Jewish School for Sextet.” So, new? Only one of these composers was born after 1892. All except the Prokofiev claim to be first recordings. After listening to the disc, I’m not surprised: much of the repertoire is a letdown after the Russian master’s justly admired piece. Although the music is filled with familiar Jewish tunes (I’m a goy, but I’ve attended a lot of bar mitzvahs, Seders, and weddings), no one except Prokofiev does much with them.

Grigori Krejn’s Prélude is an ambitious, 12-minute work of some complexity; it is sporadically interesting but can’t sustain its allotted span. The Children’s Suite by Joseph Achron consists of 20 lightweight, supposedly
Read more humorous pieces, none reaching two minutes in length; it needs another Ogden Nash to write verses like those for Carnival of the Animals. Julius Chajes’s Palestinian Suite is alternately solemn and lively music that doesn’t fit this ensemble well; it seems to demand larger forces. Scher is quite lovely but lasts less than two minutes. The second piece from Achron’s “Kiddush Hashem,” “Women Dance,” has considerable vivacity and charm. Mitya Stillman’s Fantasy is another ambitious piece, but it can’t decide if it wants to be Gershwin or Brahms, too-strange bedfellows.

The history of Zimro, related in detail in the notes, is more interesting than the music. Six Russian Jewish musicians—a clarinetist, pianist, and string quartet—formed an ensemble, Zimro, in 1918. They then toured the world, starting in Russia and China, often traveling in boxcars on freight trains. They came to America the following year, and a Carnegie Hall concert made their fame. The 28-year-old Prokofiev, then in New York, chose two Jewish themes from their collection and wrote his Overture on Hebrew Themes for them. It was the first piece written for such an ensemble; they had been playing quintets, quartets, and so on down the line. Many other composers followed suit, so the clarinet-piano-string quartet combination began to have a Jewish connotation. Oh, yes—the “Broken Concert Tour.” They were so successful that each took a more remunerative position in America, leader Simon Bellison becoming principle clarinet of the New York Philharmonic.

The disc suffers from an egregious fault when presenting unfamiliar music: one piece follows the next with no greater pause than between movements, forcing the listener to keep one eye on the booklet and another on the track indicator. Most performances of the Prokofiev strike me as being square, even self-conscious; this outing is wonderful: spirited, colorful, and teeming with life. So I have to recommend this CD.

-- James H. North, FANFARE [11/2008]
Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Overture on Hebrew Themes for Clarinet, String Quartet and Piano in C minor, Op. 34 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Chen Halevy (Clarinet), Jascha Nemstov (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vogler String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919; USA 
Length: 8 Minutes 37 Secs. 
2. Prélude by Grigory Abramovich Krein
Performer:  Chen Halevy (Clarinet), Jascha Nemstov (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vogler String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925; Russia 
Length: 12 Minutes 2 Secs. 
3. Scher, Op. 42 by Joseph Achron
Performer:  Chen Halevy (Clarinet), Jascha Nemstov (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vogler String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1916 
Length: 1 Minutes 58 Secs. 
4. Kiddush Hashem: Song of the Little Tailor by Joseph Achron
Performer:  Chen Halevy (Clarinet), Jascha Nemstov (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vogler String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; New York City, NY, U 
Length: 1 Minutes 29 Secs. 
5. Kiddush Hashem: Women Dance by Joseph Achron
Performer:  Chen Halevy (Clarinet), Jascha Nemstov (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vogler String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; New York City, NY, U 
Length: 2 Minutes 55 Secs. 
6. Fantasy on a Chassidic Theme for Clarinet, Violin, Viola and Piano by Mitya Stillman
Performer:  Chen Halevy (Clarinet), Jascha Nemstov (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vogler String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 11 Minutes 7 Secs. 
7. Children's Suite, Op. 57 by Joseph Achron
Performer:  Jascha Nemstov (Piano), Chen Halevy (Clarinet)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vogler String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923; Poland 
Length: 21 Minutes 25 Secs. 
8. Palestinian Suite by Julius Chajes
Performer:  Chen Halevy (Clarinet), Jascha Nemstov (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vogler String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938; Detroit, Michigan, U 
Length: 11 Minutes 59 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Overture on Hebrew Themes, Op. 34
Prelude
Children's Suite, Op. 57: I. How tiresome, what could I do now?
Children's Suite, Op. 57: II. Jumpin with Tongue out
Children's Suite, Op. 57: III. A Castle of Blocks
Children's Suite, Op. 57: IV. Mamma, Tell a Fairy-Tale
Children's Suite, Op. 57: V. On the Hobby-Horse
Children's Suite, Op. 57: VI. The Tot Puts on Airs
Children's Suite, Op. 57: VII. The Little Horse is tired
Children's Suite, Op. 57: VIII. The Top
Children's Suite, Op. 57: IX. A Carriage of Chairs
Children's Suite, Op. 57: X. March of Toys
Children's Suite, Op. 57: XI. Sleep, my Puppy!
Children's Suite, Op. 57: XII. Birdies
Children's Suite, Op. 57: XIII. Mechanical Dolls
Children's Suite, Op. 57: XIV. Over a Broken Toy
Children's Suite, Op. 57: XV. The Monkey
Children's Suite, Op. 57: XVI. Soap-Bubbles
Children's Suite, Op. 57: XVII. Elephant
Children's Suite, Op. 57: XVIII. The Caravan
Children's Suite, Op. 57: XIX. Swing
Children's Suite, Op. 57: XX. Parade with Presents
Palestinian Suite, "Hebrew Suite": I. T'filah (Prayer)
Palestinian Suite, "Hebrew Suite": II. In Galilee
Palestinian Suite, "Hebrew Suite": III. Horah
Palestinian Suite, "Hebrew Suite": IV. In Jerusalem
Shar, Op. 42 (arr. S. Bellison)
Kiddush Hashem (excerpts): Song of the Little Tailor
Kiddush Hashem (excerpts): Women Dance
Fantasy on a Chassidic Theme

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook