Kol Nidrei, Op. 47, is a composition for cello and orchestra written by Max Bruch.
Bruch completed the composition in Liverpool, England, before it was first published in Berlin in 1881. It is styled as an Adagio on 2 Hebrew Melodies for Cello and Orchestra with Harp and consists of a series of variations on two main themes of Jewish origin. The first theme, which also lends the piece its title, comes from the Kol Nidre prayer which is recited during the evening service on Yom Kippur. In Bruch's setting of the melody, the cello imitates the rhapsodic voice of the hazzan who chants the liturgy in the synagogue. The second subject of the piece is quoted from the middle section of Isaac Nathan's arrangement of "O Weep for Those that Wept on Babel's Stream", a lyric which was penned by Lord Byron in a collection called Hebrew Melodies (which also included the famous poem "She Walks in Beauty").
Bruch was a Protestant and first became acquainted with the Kol Nidre melody when his teacher Ferdinand Hiller introduced him to the Lichtenstein family, the head of which served as the cantor-in-chief of Berlin. Cantor Abraham Jacob Lichtenstein was known to have cordial relations with many Christian musicians and supported Bruch's interest in Jewish folk music. While some commentators have criticized the dearth of Jewish sentiment in Bruch's concert-hall Kol Nidrei, Bruch never presumed to write Jewish music. He only wished to incorporate Jewish inspirations into his own compositions. (Wikipedia)
Jacqueline Du Pre: The Complete EMI Recordings [Box set]
Edward Elgar (Composer), Frederick Delius (Composer), Camille Saint-Saens (Composer), Antonin Dvorak (Composer), Robert Schumann (Composer), Georg Matthias Monn (Composer), Franz Joseph Haydn (Composer), Frederic Chopin (Composer), Cesar Franck (Composer), Max Bruch (Composer), Johann Sebastian Bach (Composer), George Frederick Handel (Composer), Ludwig van Beethoven (Composer), Francois Couperin (Composer), Richard  Strauss (Composer), Edouard Lalo (Composer), Johannes Brahms (Composer), Luigi Boccherini (Composer), Manuel de Falla (Composer), Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky (Composer) |
This review is from: Jacqueline Du Pre: The Complete EMI Recordings (Audio CD)
That Jacqueline du Pré was a great musician, as well as an extraordinarily courageous human being, is beyond dispute. Though her recorded legacy, most of which is included in this inexpensive box, tends to be uneven, given the circumstances of a career tragically cut short by a debilitating illness, one must still regard every track as precious.
There are many first-rate performances included here. Her ripely expressive Elgar concerto with Barbirolli is an all-time "classic of the gramophone" (as they would put it in the UK), and many of the other concertante works are given splendidly passionate, deeply expressive treatment by this youthful artist. One might wish for a less fulsome tone in the Haydn, Boccherini-Grützmacher and Monn concerti (listeners concerned for period manners may be put off by Du Pré's heavily romanticized readings), but she triumphs in the Schumann and gives a remarkably involving, if wayward, account of the Dvorák. She is overparted as Strauss's Don Quixote--one of her less successful ventures--but makes ample amends in an elegant live performance of the Lalo Concerto and a fragrantly earthy rendition of the Delius.
It could be argued that Du Pré's finest legacy remains in the field of chamber music, where she consistently engaged in intimate, soulful and playful conversation with some of her closest companions (as well as husband Daniel Barenboim). Here is a veritable treasure trove of trios and sonatas, including stunning live performances of the Beethoven cello sonatas with Barenboim, leaner and more concentrated studio versions of Sonatas 3 & 5 with Stephen Bishop Kovacevich, and a set of Beethoven trios (featuring Zukerman and Barenboim) performed with youthful ardor and gusto, If I am less impressed by her Bach suites 1 & 2 (recorded very early in her career), I found the Handel sonatas quite charming. I was bowled over by the Tchaikovsky trio (with the same personnel as the Beethoven), the Chopin Cello Sonata and the Franck Violin Sonata in transcription (all with Barenboim in youthfully combustible form). Indeed, this is the only version of the Chopin I have heard which convinces me that it belongs in the canon of great chamber works for cello. Her Brahms sonatas (both live and studio) are certainly involving, if at times overheated. It is particularly gratifying to hear Du Pré in some spikier twentieth-century literature, including Britten and de Falla. The shorter, "encore" pieces, though mostly insubstantial, are hugely enjoyable.
In sum, then, this box offers the collector a unique opportunity survey the career of one of the Twentieth Century's most remarkable musical personalities. Despite vicissitudes of live performance (a few slips here and there) and recording (ranging from cloudy to vivid), I recommend this amazingly inexpensive set with the utmost enthusiasm. If, perchance, there are any listeners who have not yet encountered the vibrant artistry of Jacqueline Du Pré, here is your chance to get acquainted--in a rather big way. Rest assured: you won't regret the investment of time and treasure.
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