While Hanukkah preparations and aftermath can overshadow every other human activity in December, ‘tis also the season for classical concerts, especially although by no means exclusively, in the New York area. These can include much Yiddishkayt, despite the seeming omnipresence of Handel’s “Messiah.”
Mahler-lovers will not want to miss the much-loved British conductor Sir Colin Davis leading the New York Philharmonic in performances on December 2, 4, and 7 of Mahler’s orchestral songs, “Des Knaben Wunderhorn” (The Youth’s Magic Horn). Although born in 1927, Sir Colin still conducts with a balletic grace which vivifies everything he interprets.
This autumn’s Manhattan concert calendar contains celebrations both of Jewish musical youth and age, as if offering alternating songs of innocence and experience. Experience comes first, from October 19 to 24, when Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola presents an 85th birthday party for Newport Jazz Festival impresario George Wein. Among the celebrants will be Jazz Jews such as the trumpeter Randy Brecker and sax and flute player Lew Tabackin.
From October 26 to 30, Dizzy’s turns the same venue over to youth, in the form of the Eyal Vilner Big Band. The Tel Aviv-born alto sax and clarinet player Vilner boasts a fluid sense of swing. No less artful is the San Francisco-born jazz pianist Don Friedman, who takes over Dizzy’s for two sets on November 8.
Classical fans also have a rich choice of musicians starting their careers, and others already well-entrenched in audience popularity. The young Israeli pianists Ran Dank and Roman Rabinovich are not yet household names, but they should be, as an October 8 group recital presented by International Performing Artists at Zankel Hall, will prove.