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(photo credit: )
The Jerusalem Camerata with the New Vocal Ensemble
Featuring music by Handel, Vivaldi and Zehavi
Conductor: Avner Biron
Tel-Aviv Museum of Arts
Working under dire financial constraints and with no clear future, Avner Biron and the Camerata must be commended for their persistence to survive and make music of a fairly high standard. Last Saturday night, the orchestra demonstrated its ability once again, featuring a brilliant, full sound and a notable orchestral coherence. That said, one must also note the ever-recurring problem of repertoire. When playing music from the Baroque, utilizing modern instruments rather than period ones makes the Camerata sound too heavy and not sharp enough. Playing period instruments for Baroque music is now the global standard. This shortcoming is a real issue for serious connoisseurs.
The true hero of the concert was the choir. The New Vocal Ensemble is probably the best of its kind in Israel, and this evening their beautiful voices glittered with superb balance and energy. If I had to single out one moment, it would be the ensemble's wonderfully-carved reading of the moving "Et Misericordia" from Vivaldi's Magnificat.
Also notable was Oded Zehavi's "Slihot," commissioned by the Camerata to open the season. Aware of the orchestra's predicament, Zehavi chose to compose what he defined as his "farewell" to the Camerata. This quasi-programmatic piece wasn't intended to be pleasurable, and indeed wasn't; however it did have some moving moments, especially those which were clearly inspired by Shostakovich.
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