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The Jewish Soul
David ZEHAVI (1910-1975)
Eli, Eli arranged for cello and piano by Roy Friedman [2:45]
Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959)
Meditation Hébraïque for cello and piano (1924) [6:29]
From Jewish Life for cello and piano (Prayer, Supplication, Jewish Dance) (1924) [9:07]
Joachim STUTSCHEWSKY (1891-1982)
Hassidic Suite for cello and piano (1946) [9:34]
Odeon PARTOS (1907-1977)
Yizkor (In Memoriam) for cello and piano [10:22]
Mark KOPYTMAN (b.1929)
Kaddisch for cello and piano (1981) [14:50]
Max BRUCH (1823-1920)
Kol Nidrei Op.47 (1880) arranged for five cellos by Günter Ribke [10:47] ¹
Amit Peled (cello)
Eli Kalman (piano)
Yotam Baruch, DaVin Lee, Andrew Talle and Jong Bin Kim (cellos) ¹
rec. June 2008, Harduf, Israel, and December 2007, Seventh-day Adventist Church, Spencerville, Maryland
CENTAUR CRC 2988 [63:57]

Experience Classicsonline

The title of the disc speaks for itself, but there are intriguing moments for the unwary. If the Bloch pieces are by now staples of the repertoire we can note that the Bruch Kol Nidrei is heard here in an arrangement for five cellos made by Günter Ribke, and its textures are refined and malleable. And whilst Eli, Eli has been played by Mischa Elman as well as folk groups, Odeon Partos’s Yizkor will be a far less well known piece.
Cellist Amit Peled announces his musical precepts early, in Eli, Eli. He plays with lyric intensity but also with discreet emotionalism. It’s a quality, one of understated taste, that will recur throughout the disc. The cantorial declamation embedded in Bloch’s Meditation Hébraïque over the syncopated piano part is adeptly realised by Peled and by pianist Eli Kalman. If you want a more explicit take, however, you could turn to Parry and Frances Karp on Laurel LR856CD. The same is true when the Pered-Kalman duo turns to From Jewish Life. There’s a good sense of nobility in the Centaur performance of the Supplication and the Jewish Song is taken with directness and linearity. If one misses an infusion of expressive warmth however than that will be supplied by the Karps. This newcomer is a more cool look, though not without its own attractions.
Stutschewsky’s Hassidic Suite was written in 1946. There’s a yearning Bulgar opening, and a rather repetitious Chant for a second movement. Next comes a pleasing little scherzo. The most obviously Jewish movement is the finale, a Dance replete with lurching and rubato vivacity. By contrast Partos’ Yizkor (In Memoriam) is a haunted, brooding folk-based affair that sustains its ten minute length well. This is not the later 12 tone Partos. Mark Kopytman continues the mournful, elegiac feel with Kaddish, written in 1981. It’s written in three movements and the urgency and intensity of the first proves arresting. The central panel enshrines cleverly woven dance patterns – and there’s an ear catching role for the piano’s deft patterning. This is all leading to the keening soliloquy of the Lento finale, where it’s as if the enormity of loss has finally made itself apparent, beyond the forced vitality. The keening edge is rapt indeed.
So despite the conventional looking programme there is a leavening of novelty for the curious-minded. You don’t, as it were, have to be Jewish.
Jonathan Woolf

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