Marc LAVRY (1903-1967)
Tree Jewish Dances (Sher; Yemenite Wedding Dance; Hora) (1951) [6:34]
Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959)
Abodah (God’s Worship) – A Yom Kippur Melody to Yehudi Menuhin (1929) [6:08]
George PERLMAN (1897-2000)
Dance of the Rebbitzen (1929) [2:51]
Julius CHAJES (1910-1985)
The Chassid (1939) [4:37]
Ernest BLOCH
Baal Shem Suite (Vidui; Nigun; Simchas Torah) (1923) [13:36]
Abraham GOLDFADEN (1840-1908)
Rozhinkes mit Mandlen (Raisins and Almonds) (1882) [3:36]
Josef BONIME (1891-1959)
Dance Hébraïque (c.1819) [2:42]
Lazare SAMINSKY (1882-1959)
Hebrew Rhapsody, Op.3 No.2 (1920) [5:15]
Issay DOBROWEN (1891-1953)
Mélodie Hébraïque [5:30]
Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)
Kaddish (1914, arr. Lucien Garban 1924) [4:29]
Mark WARSHAWSKY (1840-1907)
Oyfn Pripetshok (At the Fireplace) (1899) [1:49]
Orsolya Korcsolán (violin); Judit Kertész (piano)
rec. 2009, Phoenix Studios, Diósd, Hungary. DDD.
SOLO MUSICA SM150 [58:05]

On this disc you’ll encounter a seamless stream of the old familiar Jewish melodic twists and harmonies, all deeply woven into the European (Ashkenazy) Jewish musical tradition. In brief, you’ll hear all the oy-veys and the ay-ay-ays that can be so annoying in their insistence, and yet so touching in their sincerity. This music looks to the past and brings it into contact with the present. This living in the past is an important trait of the Jewish people – a trait that helped it preserve its culture and traditions through the ages, without the luxury of having a country of their own.

The music falls into two categories: pensive, philosophic prayers and fast, cheery dances. Prayer and dance are the two main well-springs of Jewish music. Often a prayer turns into a dance, thus confirming the duality of the Jewish attitude towards life, fate, and God. A Jewish dance, even the merry hora, is never unrestrained: there is always wisdom and bitterness. On the other hand, Jewish sorrow always carries the seeds of hope.

You may already have heard the Bloch and Ravel pieces. They stand out from the rest in depth but the other pieces also have high musical quality. Many works call for virtuosity especially from the violinist. Both musicians well up to the task. All the effects and ornaments are performed with skill. The fast parts will have your feet tapping. The slow parts are soulfully felt. Whatever nationality you are, they will awake your memories.

This program would probably not make a good differentiated recital: it is rather uniform. But if you are in the mood, this uniformity can even be a good thing. Uniform does not mean monotonous. Bloch’s Baal Shem is the magnificent centerpiece, full of genuine sentiment. The smaller-scale songs by Goldfaden and Warshawsky bring intimacy. Soft humor shines through in Perlman’s attractive Dance of the Rebbitzen. The great diversity of techniques across this recital encompasses the entire palette of violin playing. Orsolya Korcsolán delivers with a sure hand. She imbues this music with dignity and grandeur; some works come out more monumental than they were probably supposed to be. Korcsolán finds an excellent partner in Judit Kertész. Her playing is rhythmically firm, compact yet expressive, bouncy and energetic. The violin is well recorded with power and space although at times the piano seems too remote and can sound a bit dull.

The performers have this music deep under their skin but they also have the ability to inject it under yours. This is a faithful, sincere reading, planned and executed with love and thought. The liner-note is informative. It tells us briefly about the composers and the history of the featured works.

Oleg Ledeniov

These are faithful, sincere readings, planned and executed with love and thought.