DESKTOP
TABLET (max. 1024px)
MOBILE (max. 640px)
Return to Top
Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Jerusalem Quartet Explores The Lighter Side Of 20th Century Music

By Norman Lebrecht on April 12, 2019

The Yiddish Cabaret (Harmonia Mundi)

★★★★☆
🎧 Amazon

Journalists sometimes write reckless headlines, knowing they will be fish-food in a couple of days. Artists cannot afford that luxury with album titles.

The cover here does not reflect the contents, and I’m telling you this so you don’t pester some poor record shop demanding your money back.

The second string quartet by Erich Wolfgang Korngold and the 5 Quartet Pieces of Erwin Schulhoff are about as Yiddish as a bacon croissant. Korngold’s primary influences were Strauss and Puccini, Schulholff was a Dvoravk protégé who wrote musical manifestos for the Communist Party. Both were born into Jewish families but neither of these works exudes a scintilla of Yiddishness, or Yiddishkeit in the vernacular. I suspect both composers would have been horrified to be stamped with that label.

Korngold’s second quartet, written in 1933, was premiered by the Rosé Quartet a few days before the composer sailed off to his second life in Hollywood. It is so light that you might mistake it for salon music for classipops. Schulhoff, by contrast, is serious to the point you can almost hear him frowning as he composes. He likes waltz rhythms, though, and the Jerusalem Quartet spin them off with gusto. Morbid to a fault, it’s like Ravel’s La valse without the laughs.

The Yiddish kicks in with the final work — 6 lieder for soprano and string quartet commissioned from Leonid Desyatnikov and sung with barely contained enthusiasm by the Israel opera soprano Hila Baggio — I mean, how often do you get asked to sing in Yiddish? The songs are taken from the cabarets of Warsaw and Lodz between the two wars and speak of poverty, prostitution and professional thievery, cheerful stuff. I could do with more of this, if the lustrous Baggio is up for another set.

LUDWIG VAN TORONTO

Want more updates on classical music and opera news and reviews? Follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for all the latest.

Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.

Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300
comments powered by Disqus

Ludwig Van Toronto

SCRUTINY | Jan Lisiecki An Ideal Mendelssohnian With The TSO

By Arthur Kaptainis on June 6, 2019

Under the baton of guest conductor Karl-Heinz Steffens, Jan Lisiecki and the TSO make a convincing case for a poetic approach to Mendelssohn's Piano Concerto No. 1.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300

THE SCOOP | Mayor John Tory Proclaims June 14, 2019 Massey Hall Day

By Michael Vincent on June 13, 2019

Toronto Mayor John Tory has proclaimed June 14, 2019 “Massey Hall Day” in honour of the National Historic Site’s 125 birthday.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article

THE SCOOP | Royal Conservatory's 2019/20 Season Sets The Stage For New Stars And Veterans Alike

By Anya Wassenberg on June 4, 2019

Incorporating 97 concerts and events, the Royal Conservatory of Music announced a 2019/20 Koerner Hall season with much to please Toronto fans of classical music, along with jazz, blues, world music, and more.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_low_590x300
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700

We have detected that you are using an adblocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we earn by the advertisements is used to manage this website. Please whitelist our website in your adblocking plugin.