Chamber works by Paul Ben-Haim


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.

Paul Ben-Haim's Evocation: what a discovery | Basia con fuoco
Paul Ben-Haim

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

String quartets by Weinberg played by the Arcadia Quartet: perfection at hand

He composed seventeen of them. Seventeen string quartets that just about mark his entire musical life. Mieczyslaw Weinberg, the composer who is finally being rescued from oblivion, albeit (too) late. And posthumously.

The best known of all his quartets is, I think, number eight. This does not surprise me because it is not only insanely emotional, but at the same time also restrained. It begins with an Adagio that you cannot escape. Very beautiful but also quite painful. The following Alegretto does not offer any solace either: it should be cheerful but it is not. Part three, Doppo piú lento is nothing but distressing. This music will not make you happy, but it gets under your skin and then never lets go. Weinberg composed it in 1959 and dedicated it to the Borodin Quartet.

Number two is an early piece; he wrote it in 1939, when he was still a conservatory student in Warsaw and he dedicated it to his mother and sister (neither of whom survived the war). He revised it in 1987. I would love to be able to compare both versions… maybe one day I will?

The Arcadia Quartet and Chandos have now embarked on a new project: they are going to record all of Weinberg’s string quartets, commendable. It is not the first time that all of Weinberg’s string quartets have been recorded though; the Danel Quartet preceded them. Something that escaped the press.

I myself don’t know this earlier recording, but I think it cannot possibly be better than this version. Because it is just perfect. The members of the string quartet, unknown to me until now, play lively and their commitment is palpable. Simply put: they play the stars from the sky.

Arcadia Quartet about Weinberg: “his music is like a glow of light surrounded by the darkness of the unknown […]. With every recording and every live performance of his music, we want to shed some light on this wide-ranging, profound phenomenon, which has been overlooked for so long, and we hope that in time Mieczyslaw Weinberg will take his rightful place in the history of music”.

I can only say ‘Amen’ to that and I just can’t wait for the sequel. Bravo Arcadians! And chapeau again to Chandos!

Mieczyslaw Weinberg
String quartets 2, 5 and 8
Arcadia Quartet
Chandos Chan 20158



Langzaam, veel te langzaam en eigenlijk veel te laat, maar de muziekwereld wordt wakker. De een na de andere leemte wordt eindelijk opgevuld en de (bewust of onbewust) ‘vergeten’ componisten komen ook onze cd-spelers in.


Wie van u heeft ooit van Paul Ben-Haim gehoord? En als niet: waarom niet eigenlijk?
De in 1897 in München als Paul Frankenburger geboren en bijna 90 jaar later in Tel Aviv gestorven componist heeft een zeer spectaculair oeuvre nagelaten. Veel vocale werken, orkeststukken, kamermuziek…. Wat niet, eigenlijk?

De meeste van zijn composities zijn beïnvloed en geïnspireerd door Joodse, Israëlische en Arabische melodieën, je kan zijn muziek dan ook ‘nationalistisch’ noemen. En: nee, daar is niets mis mee, met dat woord.

Neem alleen de opening van zijn klarinetkwintet uit 1941! De dansante klarinetpartij herinnert in de verte aan de swingende klezmer, maar dan wel in een Brahmsiaans jasje.

Nog sterker komt het tot uiting in zij Two Landscapes voor altviool en piano, waarin hij de schoonheid van zijn nieuwe vaderland bezingt.


De aan Zino Francescati opgedragen Improvisation and Dance verraden invloeden uit het Jemenitische folklore en alleen zijn oudste werk op de cd, het pianokwartet uit 1920 heeft nog geen eigen gezicht.

De zeer aanstekelijk spelende leden van het Canadese ARC Ensemble zijn in het dagelijks leven allen werkzaam op het Glenn Gould Conservatorium. Een cd om te koesteren

Clarinet Quintet, Two Lanscapes, Canzonetta, Improvisation and Dance,
Piano Quartet
ARC Ensemble
Chandos CHAN 10769

Meer ARC Ensemble:
SZYMON LAKS. Muziek uit een andere wereld