This is s superb account of Jewish music that not many people have ever heard of. It is Jewish art music either for clarinet and piano or arranged for them. Some pieces are arrangements of folk songs, but some are not – many compositions here are true art music and will be a revelation to many listeners. I can't recommend it enough.Daniel Pincus @ Amazon.com
It would have been groundbreaking enough for the Israeli Ofra Haza to have performed an album of Yemeni Jewish songs. But when she and producer Bezalel Aloni added synthesizers, drum machines, and a generous helping of dance beats, they ended up creating one of the seminal records of world music–one of the very first ethno-techno releases whose reverberations extended into dance clubs around the globe, most especially with "Galbi." While its contemporary sound might make it seem shallow, there really is a lot of depth here, the lyrics coming from the poetry of 16th-century rabbi Shalom Shabazi. Along with fellow spirits like Dissidenten, Haza helped pave the way for Transglobal Underground, Natacha Atlas, and Banco de Gaia.
The fifth volume in Delos' series of recordings dedicated to the songs of Shostakovich masterminded by series pianist Yury Serov is as absolutely essential for anyone who loves the music of Shostakovich. On this disc, Serov has programmed two of the composers' greatest song cycles: From Jewish Folk Poetry and Suite to Words by Michelangelo Buonarroti. For vocalists, Serov has wisely chosen to retain bass Fyodor Kuznetsov from the previous issues for the Michelangelo songs, but daringly recruited a new trio of singers for the Jewish songs……….Anyone who loves the music of Shostakovich will love this disc, just like he/she would love the four previous discs in this series.James Leonard @ AllMusic.com
Prior to the Spanish Inquisition, peace, tolerance, and shared learning existed. This shared knowledge influenced all subjects from the sciences to the arts. The music composed and performed during this time was about being in the moment: Some pieces tell stories–'Cancionera de la Columbina' for example–while others express emotions, as in the 'Romances.' Interestingly enough, the "non-Jewish" selections were written during the Inquisition, while the Sephardic selections were written right before it. Director Jordi Savall and Hesperion XX, an ensemble that specializes in early music from all over the world, are like chameleons. Soprano Montserrat Figueras is able to inhabit each work with great authenticity and individual style. Her singing on the 'Villancicos' displays more of a Renaissance influence, while in the 'Sephardic Romances' we hear authentic Middle Eastern inflections. The contrast in style of the "Christian" versus "Jewish" works is evident, but there are similarities. Both "Si d'amor pena sentis" and "La Reina xerifa mora" are lyrical, sparsely accompanied, and plaintive in tone. The songs on these discs are beautiful and expertly performed.