The summer of 1948 was spent by the Shostakoviches in Komarovo, a recreational area in the suburbs of Leningrad. In the bookstore in the train station, where Shostakovich had dropped in to buy something to read on the trip, he saw a collection of poems entitled "Jewish Folk Songs". The composer's interest in Jewish art was long-standing. He was familiar with Jewish folklore through a friend of his youth, S.Gershov, a pupil of Marc Chagall. Some modal attributes of Jewish folk melodies appeared in the composer's various compositions to convey sorrow and suffering.
“What is to be heard and experienced is not only of value for its high standard of documentation, but also for the rare music which it contains” (Die Zeit)
Much of Possessed is a collaboration with Tony Kushner (the Pulitzer- and Tony-winning playwright of Angels in America). He contributes lyrics to two songs, and the second half of the album was designed as a musical score for his play A Dybbuk: Between Two Worlds (an adaptation of Jewish folk tales by S. An-ski). The marriage of artistic sensibilities is perfect. The Klezmatics' ethos is at once deeply traditional and deeply progressive. Their music is a lively engagement with Jewishness itself, inflecting Eastern European klezmer music with other genres so seamlessly that it seems misleading even to name the other influences (classical, Dixieland, bebop, Middle Eastern folk, modern rock…). Their song catalog includes religious traditionals, but it also includes original Hebraic odes to marijuana and homosexuality. All of which is very much in line with Kushner's endless quest to sort out his own disparate influences as a gay, Jewish, democratic-socialist, Louisiana-born, New York-adopted artiste.
The Danish trio (Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen, violin; Ale Carr, cittern; Nikolaj Busk, piano & accordion) returns with their second recording of cross-genre folk music. Guests include a folk choir and The Danish String Quartet. The artists say: "We met by chance one night during a folk festival in Copenhagen. Ale and Rune were standing in the corner of a pub jamming some folk tunes. Nikolaj just came in, sat at the piano and began to play along. The three of us ended up playing together all through the night. That was in 2009. Six months after we met, Rune held his debut concert at the Royal Danish Academy of Music.