The Arty Semite

The Arty Semite’s Fall Classical Concert Guide

By Benjamin Ivry

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From Sukkot to Hanukkah, this year-end’s Manhattan classical concerts featuring Yiddishkeit contain a remarkable range of music, old and new. “Glamour Girl,” a work by Lukas Ligeti, son of the Hungarian Jewish composer György Ligeti, will be heard on November 5 at Zankel Hall played by The Bang on a Can All-Stars. Ligeti lives in Bushwick but plays in an electronica band based in Burkina Faso. Bang on a Can is anchored by clarinetist Evan Ziporyn, whose website notes his boyhood inspiration derived from listening to his “grandmother’s Yiddish socialist chorus.”

Soothing romanticism after this multifaceted modernity may be experienced on November 6 when Mendelssohn’s String Quintet No. 2 is presented by “Musicians From Marlboro,” including violist Michael Tree (born Applebaum) at The New School’s Tishman Auditorium. More modernism is represented by Tel-Aviv-born composer Shulamit Ran’s elegant 1991 “Inscriptions” for solo violin on November 17 at Bargemusic in the trustworthy hands of violinist Miranda Cuckson.

Then it’s back to Mendelssohn, this time his “Cello Sonata No.2” played on November 18 at Carnegie Hall by cellist Marie-Elisabeth Hecker in her New York recital debut, along with pianist Martin Helmchen. Also at Carnegie on November 28, composer/pianist Thomas Adès plays both his own meditative “Darknesse Visible” for solo piano, based on John Dowland’s lute song “In Darknesse Let Mee Dwell” and the original 1610 song with tenor Ian Bostridge. Together, Adès and Bostridge collaborate on Hungarian Jewish composer György Kurtág’s song “Hölderlin: An…” based on a German lyric which Kurtág calls a “characteristic poem of elision; I have to divine what was left out and turn it into music.”

Some more modern musical turnings are on offer at Weill Recital Hall on December 2, when the Borromeo String interprets Schoenberg’s “String Quartet No. 1 in D Minor.” The next day at the 92nd St Y, pianist Jeremy Denk plays a program including “Études, Book 1” by the elder Ligeti, who is also honored on December 6 at Weill Hall when pianist Kotaro Fukuma assays more of his “Études.”

The seasonal alternation between old and new continues at Merkin Hall on December 13, when Young Concert Artists presents clarinetist Narek Arutyunian and pianist Steven Beck in Gershwin’s “Three Preludes” and the charming “Sonatina” by Vienna-born British Jewish composer Joseph Horovitz. Veteran violinist Jaime Laredo’s 70th Birthday is feted on December 14 and 15 at the 92nd St Y by violinist Jennifer Koh and others with a Chanukah treat of a program, including Moszkowski’s “Suite for Two Violins and Piano” and Mendelssohn’s “Octet.” Gut yontiff to all and to all a good night.

Listen to part of Moszkowski’s “Suite for Two Violins & Piano” played by violinists Giora Schmidt & Bella Hristova and pianist Victor Santiago Asuncion.

Listen to cellist Emanuel Feuermann and pianist Franz Rupp play a movement from Felix Mendelssohn’s “Sonata No.2.”

And watch clarinetist Žilvinas Brazauskas and pianist Robertas Lozinskis playing the final movement from Horovitz’s Sonatina for Clarinet & Piano.


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