Slowly, much too slowly and actually much too late, but the music world is waking up. One gap after another is finally being filled and the (consciously or unconsciously) ‘forgotten’ composers are at long last coming to our CD players.
Who among you has ever heard of Paul Ben-Haim? If not, why not? The composer was born as Paul Frankenburger in Munich in 1897 and died in Tel Aviv almost 90 years later. And he left behind a really spectacular oeuvre.
Many vocal works, orchestral pieces, chamber music…. What not, actually? Most of his works are influenced and inspired by Jewish, Israeli and Arab melodies, so you may call his music “nationalistic”. Nothing wrong with that word.
Just take the opening of his 1941 clarinet quintet! The dancing clarinet part reminds one of swinging klezmer, but in a Brahmsian way.
The ARC Ensemble perform the opening movement of Paul Ben-Haim’s Clarinet Quintet at the Enav Center, Tel Aviv:
This is even more pronounced in his “Two Landscapes” for viola and piano, in which he sings the praises of his new homeland’s beauty.
Steven Dann and Dianne Werner prepare to record The Landscapes for viola and piano:
The “Improvisation and Dance”, dedicated to Zino Francescati, betrays influences from Yemeni folklore and only his oldest work on the CD, the Piano Quartet from 1920, does not yet have its own “face”.
The (very infectious playing!) members of the Canadian ARC Ensemble all work at the Glenn Gould Conservatory in daily life. A CD to cherish.
Paul Ben-Haim Clarinet Quintet, Two Lanscapes, Canzonetta, Improvisation and Dance, Piano Quartet ARC Ensemble Chandos CHAN 10769