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Seen and Heard International Festival Review


Felicja Blumental International Music Festival,
Tel Aviv, Israel   22–27.05 2006 (BK)

The two short reviews below were kindly sent to Seen and Heard by Annette Celine, Artistic Director of the Felicja Blumental International Music Festival. They are reproduced with permission. (Bill Kenny, Regional Editor)

Fabulous Month of May

L'Arpeggiata Ensemble in the Felicja Blumental Festival.
Christina Pluhar, Director. Phillipe Jaroussky, Countertenor
Tel Aviv Museum of Art 25.05.2006

The Felicja Blumental Music Festival, held under the generous direction of Annette Celine (daughter of Felicja Blumental) with the help of Avigail Arnheim from the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, does not carry the title "Festival" in vain. This time it was the L'Arpeggiata Ensemble for early music, whose players arrive from different European countries. Yesterday the ensemble dedicated a whole program (without a break) to works from the early Baroque era, with a few pearls by Monteverdi.

The countertenor Jaroussky, as well as some other players, demonstrated their astonishing soloist abilities. Jaroussky is an exceptional artist, with a strong, expressive voice and coleratouric virtuosity. Indeed, his voice is not one of the finest in this category per se – one might hear softer and more expressive voices in recordings – and his dynamic abilities are not unlimited (though he produces rather beautiful pianissimi). Nevertheless, the use Jaroussky does with his natural resorts is astonishing.

The main achievement of this concert comes from the careful thought Christina Pluhar – head of the group – invested in building the program. [..] In the end, one could almost start dancing from joy, and the audience demanded – and received – several encores. This evening the Festival is introducing a choir from Estonia. Expectations are high.

Hagai Hitron, Haaretz 25.05.06


The Diamond has started to sing

The Felicja Blumental Music Festival. Voces Musicales Chamber Choir from Estonia Conductor: Risto Joost. 26.05.2006


It was magnificent. A musical miracle. When the choir members opened their mouths – it was as if heaven’s gates had opened. All of them young, with fresh voices, but with a deep musical maturity. Such was the Estonian diamond. And this diamond has started to sing.

Please forget all you knew about choirs from our local experience. These Estonians are the model when it comes to issues such as singing quality, fluent singing – and above all – beauty of sound. Like a Persian rug rich with gorgeous colors, their singing “releases” the most amazing pastel-colored shades. What madness! They sing the astonishing works of the Estonian Arvo Pärt. These are serious works with a sensation of deep religious feelings. All of a sudden, they started performing Veljo Tormis’ pieces – an Estonian as well – and here I’m afraid was some kind of a downfall. These are pieces that touches the folklore – a sticky, lavish music which boards on kitsch.

“A Tenor is not a human being. It’s a disease” said once Thomas Beechum (sic), the “evil” (sic) conductor. Pity he didn’t hear the fine Tenors of this choir. Their singing pours like chocolate in the mouth. A pleasure. Tomorrow, Saturday evening, they will perform the wonderful Requiem by Michael Haydn. A must see.

Hanoch Ron
, Yediot Acharonot 26.05.06


Details of the whole festival can be found from its web site

Next year's festival runs from May 14-19 2007



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Contributors: Marc Bridle (North American Editor), Martin Anderson, Patrick Burnson, Frank Cadenhead, Colin Clarke, Paul Conway, Geoff Diggines, Sarah Dunlop, Evan Dickerson Melanie Eskenazi (London Editor) Robert J Farr, Abigail Frymann, Göran Forsling, Simon Hewitt-Jones, Bruce Hodges,Tim Hodgkinson, Martin Hoyle, Bernard Jacobson, Tristan Jakob-Hoff, Ben Killeen, Bill Kenny (Regional Editor), Ian Lace, Jean Martin, John Leeman, Neil McGowan, Bettina Mara, Robin Mitchell-Boyask, Simon Morgan, Aline Nassif, Anne Ozorio, Ian Pace, John Phillips, Jim Pritchard, John Quinn, Peter Quantrill, Alex Russell, Paul Serotsky, Harvey Steiman, Christopher Thomas, John Warnaby, Hans-Theodor Wolhfahrt, Peter Grahame Woolf (Founder & Emeritus Editor)