Concert Review: Bessarabia

Those thirsty for Eastern-European Jewish musical nostalgia were offered a generous dose of this commodity by the Bessarabia Sextet last Thursday.

May 4, 2010 22:19
1 minute read.
Concert Review: Bessarabia

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Mormon University

Jerusalem, April 29

Those thirsty for Eastern-European Jewish musical nostalgia were offered a generous dose of this commodity by the Bessarabia Sextet last Thursday.

Although most of its members come from Moldavia, the present-day name of former Bessarabia, the group’s folk music repertoire does not focus exclusively on this country. It spans a wide range of Eastern European countries from Russia, via Yugoslavia, Transylvania and Romania, to Greece, in would-be ethnic, discretely arranged versions. And although most of them are not folk artists but rather classic musicians, members of the Israel Symphony Orchestra Rishon Lezion, they have made this repertoire their own, with all the thorough professionalism of classic musicians, in well-coordinated, cohesive teamwork, spiced with good humor and contagious joie de vivre.

The ensemble’s star is clarinetist Michael Gorodetsky. Leaning heavily, but not solely, on the traditional klezmer style – on the basis of solid classical training – he is a veritable virtuoso of his instrument. His playing makes it sing, laugh, whine and sometimes also whisper almost inaudibly.

Accordionist Emil Aybinder surprised by revealing the hidden virtuosic potential of this unwieldy instrument. Besides musical acrobatics, he also produced extremely delicate nuances of dynamics with utmost ease and elegance.

The spellbound audience seemed to be transported back to an almost-forgotten world of yesterday.

That all this should have happened on the premises of the Mormon University, of all places, gave rise to encouraging thoughts about cultural globalization.

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