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Daniel GALAY (b.1945)
Klassical Klezmer

Far Rivke (For Rivka) [2:08]
Farfelekh (Farfel) [2:25]
Farvelkung (Fading) [3:51]
Far Pinyes Tekhter (For Pinye's daughters) [2:23]
Far Vos, Raboysay? (For what, gentlemen?) [1:28]
Far Dvoyrele (For Deborah) [2:08]
Farbaysekhts (A snack) [2:02]
Farn Keyser (For the emperor) [1:53]
Farginer (The benevolent) [1:25]
Far Ale Mol! (Forever!) [2:15]
Farkatshte Arbl (Folded sleeves) [1:48]
Farputste Lordn (Elegant lords) [3:29]
Farshpetykung (Lateness) [2:13]
Fardreyte Mayse (A crooked story) [2:14]
Far Yentele (For Yentel) [4:14]
Far Khosn-Kale (For bride and groom) [2:27]
Farshtopte Kep (Closed heads) [1:34]
Farn Oylem (For the audience) [1:17]*
Michèle Gingras (clarinet)
Ron Matson (piano)
Rabbi Tom Heyn (tenor)*
rec. Tel Aviv, 2008
MSR CLASSICS MS1240 [41:25]


Experience Classicsonline

Galay was born in Argentina in 1945 and when he was twenty moved to Israel. He graduated from Rubin Academy of Music in Tel Aviv and later the University of Chicago. His music is deeply immersed in Eastern European Jewish forms – klezmer principally, though he’s worked on scores for the theatre and ballet as well as for chamber forces. He continues to write quite prolifically and also to chair organisations that promote literature and culture generally in Israel.

His writing on this disc is for clarinet and piano – it brings a formalised, classical setting to a folkloric music. His written klezmer books consist of eighteen pieces, as does this disc; and each one here bears a dedication ‘far’ (in English ‘for’) someone or something. Most are very brief – around the two-minute mark - and only one breaks the four minute barrier. One of Galay’s favourite interpreters is the clarinettist Michèle Gingras, the long-time Professor of Clarinet at Miami University and she is well versed in the klezmatic arts and takes the stage here with admirable aplomb.

The pieces range from melancholy to vibrant, from reflective to voluble and most stops in between. The notes incidentally refer to klezmer as ‘Jewish soul music’. Ugh. So let’s forget that embarrassment – Marvin Gaye in a yarmulke anyone? – and get down to some descriptive stuff.

For Rivka has a full complement of expressive curlicues, strong in the lower register as much as in the piping, insistent upper one. It’s good to see that Galay explores the lower register so consistently and if he never becomes, as it were, ‘chalumeau blue’, then this is a strong component of his writing. Farfel is a sinuous lament and Fading does, cleverly, just what is says, winding down just as one expects a cadential passage. A snack is suitably jolly with cimbalon runs for the piano – Galay doesn’t write too many of these so they are to be savoured – whilst Forever! gives us some tense chording to support a fluid and finely noble clarinet lyric. Lateness is wistful and reflective and then the music seems to ratchet up the tempestuous bar for the final furlong. A crooked story is extrovert and stomping, For bride and groom is duly celebratory and avuncular with excited figures throughout. The final track has a brief guest appearance by Rabbi Tom Heyn. It’s not an onerous gig for the Rabbi and he majors in oi vaying for one minute seventeen.

We have here some highly enjoyable and versatile music-making from the Gingras-Matson duo. The songs are respectful, and certainly not stylised or formalised out of recognition. Instead they marry classical elements with klezmer ones with real success.

Jonathan Woolf










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