Israel scores high
Lawrence Joffe sees Israel’s composers feted in London
A CELEBRATION OF ISRAELI MUSIC Dukes Hall, Royal Academy of Music, London NW1
ISRAEL’S VIBRANT composition tradition is often overlooked. Happily, an invigorating celebration at London’s Duke’s Hall last Sunday addressed that deficit. Setting the mood was the local She’Koyokh Klezmer Ensemble, whose folksy sensibility balanced classical precision. They were followed by Menachem Wiesenberg’s Overture for Strings, a tribute to Felix Mendelssohn.
The concert was part of Tzavta, a Spiro Ark project, backed by Lilian Hochhauser, the Israel Music Institute and the Royal College of Music. As Ark co-director Nitza Spiro explained, Tzavta aims to introduce Britain to real Israeli culture.
Both Wiesenberg and fellow composer Michael Wolpe were present, as were outstanding performers like Yossi Arnheim, principal flautist with the Israeli Philharmonic. Arnheim played Wolpe’s Flute Concerto, whose hopeful opening reappeared at the end, but tinged with sadness. It reflects, explained Wolpe, his wish for peace.
Leeds-raised violinist Ruth Waterman expressively performed Paul BenHaim’s “Three Songs Without Words”. Binding everything together was the impressive Hackney-based EMFEB Orchestra. Despite limited rehearsal time, they gelled admirably with the visiting soloists.