Glanzberg: Holocaust Lieder, Suite Yiddish - Klajner

Glanzberg: Holocaust Lieder, Suite Yiddish - Klajner

MDG Scene  901 1588-6

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid


Norbert Glanzberg: Holocaust Lieder, Suite Yiddish

Roman Trekel
Orchestre Symphonique de Mulhouse
Daniel Klajner

Classical Bequeathal
The Franco-German composer Norbert Glanzberg dedicated many years of his life to film music, chansons, and show business. It was not until the last quarter of his life that he spent more time reflecting on his Jewish roots and wrote the ”Holocaust Songs” and “Yiddish Suite” for two clarinets. Shortly prior to Glanzberg’s death in 2001 Frédéric Chaslin and Daniel Klajner orchestrated these works. The Symphony Orchestra of the City of Mulhouse in Alsace under the conductor Daniel Klajner and with the baritone Roman Trekel is now presenting a highly ambitious and emotionally rich SACD featuring these impressive scores by a composer who knew his way around all the musical genres.

Musical Reflections
Born in Poland, bred in Würzburg, and a rising star of the UFA in Berlin as a young composer, emigration to France, the end of World War II, and a composer’s life in the entertainment world of Edith Piaf, Yves Montand, Tonni Rossi, and Maurice Chevalier. After the death of these friends Glanzberg no longer felt at home in modern pop culture and began to reflect on his personal background.

Cultural Memories
The “Yiddish Suite” depicts scenes from life in the villages of Eastern Europe – a bygone world that Glanzberg himself knew only from stories. A lullaby, a waltz, a Jewish wedding song are heard – and then reminiscences of Shostakovich’s music commemorate the Cossack pogroms. The “Holocaust Songs” are based on poems by concentration camp prisoners, by Jews and members of the resistance. These are very special studies – sometimes rousing and impassioned, sometimes intimate and profoundly moving – and Roman Trekel interprets them with great emotional dedication and high empathetic virtuosity.

Many Congratulations!
The Symphony Orchestra of the City of Mulhouse has repeatedly crossed borders in its role as a cultural ambassador for the Alsace and in order to spread its home region’s fine reputation. Active as a concert, opera, and theater orchestra at home, the orchestra has set itself various new goals since 2005 under its principal conductor Daniel Klajner. Congratulations are in order on the occasion this important and ambitious project – and magnificent audio event!

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Reviews (1)

Review by John Broggio - April 26, 2010

A disc of some extraordinary music and the first in a series that should prove highly stimulating.

In collaboration with MDG, the Orchestre Symphonique de Mulhouse are going to make a series of recordings that will include works that "deserve to be rediscovered". This first issue shows that it could be very promising and people should keep a watch for future instalments. Norbert Glanzberg was a Polish émigré who found favour with Richard Strauss amongst others before settling in France where he wrote songs for Edith Piaf as well as film scores, having had to relinquish a promising "pure" classical career. In the early 1980's, long after his star had waned in popular culture, Glanzberg returned to classical composition using his melodic gifts to write (amongst other things) the compositions here - unlike much classical music of the 1980's, Glanzberg's has a ready appeal both melodically and harmonically. Both works have been orchestrated by those who knew him well and they supply detailed notes on their work on Glanzberg's output.

The Holocaust Lieder have been orchestrated by the conductor of this disc, Daniel Klajner, following Glanzberg being given the freedom of the city of Würzburg (although the orchestration was premièred the year following Glanzberg's death). The texts are cutting with raw emotion and terror in "Transport", yet almost consoling in the closing 4 songs that feels quite uneasy with all that has gone before. Roman Trekel is in fine voice and paints with vivid colour each, highly varied topic and is supported with considerable finesse by the Orchestre Symphonique de Mulhouse under Klajner. The main complaint here is that it is unforgivable for the large number of people interested in the work who do not speak German as no translations are provided.

The Yiddish Suite is a series of character portraits by Glanzberg based on songs his mother sang to him and books by Isaac Bashevis Singer on life in Eastern European villages - something that Glanzberg never consciously experienced. Frederic Chaslin orchestrated the suite (from a 2 piano original) in preparation for the ceremony in Würzburg - the notes suggest implicitly that Glanzberg approved of Chaslin's work. As in the Holocaust Lieder, the orchestral style of Mahler looms large over the writing; no bad thing in this case as the great composer famously recreates features of klezmer music and Chaslin follows in similar style. The whole suite is of a much lighter tone than the Lieder (as one might imagine) and is terrific fun to listen to at something approaching concert-hall volume! The work may not have the longevity in the memory of masterpieces but it is unlikely that many will come away cursing the investment of the time or money for such an experience when played with real conviction, style and panache as it is here.

The sound from MDG (2+2+2) is one of the most vivid large scale presentations they have managed to date. As it is recorded in La Filature (Mulhouse), a 1993 gem of acoustic architecture, this should be of no surprise.

For a something bit different, this is hard to beat!

Copyright © 2010 John Broggio and


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