Friday, January 16, 2015

Early music at the 2015 Eilat Chamber Music Festival

From February 4th to 7th, the 2015 Eilat Chamber Music Festival will take place at the Dan Hotel Eilat. Established in 2006 by violinist and conductor Leonid Rozenberg, who continues to serve as its artistic and general director, the festival, celebrating its tenth year, is one of Israel’s most prestigious, attracting both local- and overseas concert-goers interested in the best of chamber music. Most of the artists of the 2015 festival hail from Europe and the UK, with one Canadian; these musicians will be joined by a number of Israel’s finest musicians. Master classes will be held there for music performance undergraduates and graduates as of February 2nd.

With a rich variety of music and genres, early music aficionados will be well catered for. The Kölner Vokalsolisten (Cologne Vocal Soloists) will open the festival with “Carpe Noctem” (Seize the Night), a program of Renaissance-, Baroque music and more. As its title infers, the mood will be one of night, the glowing signature sound of these six singers lighting the audience through the many musical and poetic avenues of this ever-mysterious theme.

Those of us who heard the Accordone Ensemble at the Israel Festival some years back will be excited to hear that the group will be presenting two concerts at the upcoming Eilat Chamber Music Festival. Fired by their passion for pre-Bach music and original instruments, Guido Morini and Marco Beasley formed Accordone in 1984. In its fresh and informed approach to interpretation, and inspired by the values, poetics and skill of early musicians, the group focuses on Italian music for voice and continuo from the 16th and 17th centuries. With the attention the Accordone musicians give to theatrical elements, each concert is bound to be a dramatic and spirited experience. Performed by 10 members of the ensemble and joined by Italian folk dancer Silvia Pirone, “Storie di Napoli” will create a fresco of Neapolitan music from the 16th century to the present day. In “La Bella Noeva” festival-goers will hear music ranging from Gregorian chant to Monteverdi, from the tarantellas of Salento to music composed by Guido Morini himself. Singer and composer Marco Beasley is an artist of striking natural musicality and charisma.

In addition to concerts presenting some of the greatest works of Classical, Romantic and later chamber music repertoire, one very different and significant event will be the Israeli premiere of British composer (and rock musician) Julian Marshall’s 2009 chamber cantata “Out of the Darkness”, based on texts of the very great Jewish German poet Gertrud Kolmar, who perished in the Auschwitz Extermination Camp. This event will bring together the Kölner Vokalsolisten, conductor Ansgar Eimann, French ‘cellist François Salque, Israeli instrumentalists and Israeli sopranos Claire Meghnagi and Rosemarie Danziger. To let one’s hair down at a late-night jazz concert, “Brassfire” will feature the celebrated Canadian trumpeter Jens Lindemann, who will perform with three local jazz players. And to wind up the festival with excitement and passion, "Flamenco al Natural" will send festival-goers off home with a fill of color and emotion created by renowned Falemenco dancer Maria Juncal, performing with a large ensemble of musicians and dancers. Still, for those dominated by that constant hankering to hear more Renaissance and Baroque music, you will find some early music works interwoven into other programs: an interesting meeting of artists and cultures will be seen and heard "East and West", in which the Fitzwilliam Quartet (UK) will host local singer Mira Awad in a program of music rearranged for string quartet as well as Baroque music performed by Awad. Marin Marais’ Suite from “Alcione” will be played in “The Reign of the ‘Cello” (Camerata Geneva, David Greilsammer-conductor, Stephen Isserlis-‘cello), J.-P. Rameau’s Suite from “Platée” in “La Casa del Diavolo” (Geneva Camerata, David Greilsammer-conductor and pianist) and music of Bach in “Shem Tov Levi and a String Trio” - featuring Levi himself and some of his music.

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