Israel festival review: Choirs from Germany and Jerusalem YMCA, June 7

Franz Liszt Music Academy Choir, Jerusalem Academy Choir perform in Israel together.

By URY EPPSTEIN
June 10, 2014 21:31
YMCA Tower

YMCA Tower 480. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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A cappella works ranging from the Renaissance of William Byrd to contemporaries Yehezkel Braun and Antonio Eros Negri, mostly based on biblical texts, were presented by the Franz Liszt Music Academy Choir from Weimar and the Jerusalem Academy Choir, separately and together, conducted by Jurgen Puschbeck and Stanley Sperber.

This performance can be described in superlatives only. The unbelievably soft, calm pianissimo of such an enormous choir bordered on the miraculous.

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Strong sounds sounded relaxed, unstrained and well-rounded. Enunciation was clear and accurate in whatever language. Articulation was clear-cut and perfect. Although consisting of students, renditions were not dry or mechanical, but radiated involvement and emotional as well as intellectual identification with music and texts. Intricate polyphonic textures, such as in Bach’s motets, were amazingly transparent.

All these praiseworthy qualities were characteristic of each choir separately as well as of their combined renditions.

Among the many fascinating pieces, Yehezkel Braun’s They said and Bach’s motet Ich lasse dich nicht (“I won’t release you”) were particularly enchanting.

This concert was an extraordinary artistic achievement.

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