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)
SMYRNA Recollections - Introduction - This is a short journey into the memory of Izmir before 1922. Throughout this journey you will be hearing only three languages out of many that had echoed on the streets during that period: Turkish, Romaic (Greek) and Jewish Spanish (Ladino). A multicultural folk song parade awaits you to help you visualise Izmir as an almost complete picture.
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.
After two stunning jazz piano trio recordings featuring the music of Dylan and Zorn, dubmeister Jamie Saft returns to his roots with a masterpiece of Jewish heavy metal. Slashing and burning his way through nine tracks of unbridled madness, this is Radical Jewish Culture at its best. Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath and Slayer for the frum, Black Shabbis presents uncompromising and intense sounds from one of the most versatile creative lights in the downtown scene.
For their fourth release, Zorn’s most intimate and spiritual 21st century ensemble returns with a melodic and open book of tunes reminiscent of the Book of Angels. Drawing inspiration from the Biblical Song of Solomon and originally intended as a companion piece to Zorn’s vocal masterpiece Shir Hashirim, the music is regal, sensual and romantic—a magical blend of classical, jazz and folk music. There has never been a group like the Gnostic Trio, and The Testament of Solomon is a unique CD in their catalog, filled with strong solos, telepathic interplay and a charming lyricism.