Classical Review: ICO Mozart: Requiem YMCA, September 18

Mozart’s Requiem was performed just before Rosh Hashana, presumably to start the New Year in an appropriately mournful mood.

By URY EPPSTEIN
September 24, 2017 22:02
1 minute read.
Israel Kibbutz Chamber Orchestra

Israel Kibbutz Chamber Orchestra 521. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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An enrichment of Jerusalem’s musical life has been provided by the Israel Chamber Orchestra, that came all the way from Tel Aviv to perform here after a long time of ignoring the capital. One hopes that this concert will be the first of more to come.

Mozart’s Requiem was performed just before Rosh Hashana, presumably to start the New Year in an appropriately mournful mood. This work is long and also weighty enough to be considered usually as a full-length concert program. Nevertheless, for paying tribute to Israeli music in a concert program, Noam Sheriff’s Song of Songs for flute and orchestra was dutifully performed as a somewhat longish curtain raiser. It is a listener-friendly piece, performed with remarkable virtuosity by flutist Ariel Zuckermann who also conducted the concert.

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In Mozart’s Requiem, Daniela Skorka’s clear, youthful and fresh-sounding soprano was particularly noteworthy. Yair Polishuk’s dark, well-rounded bass sounded forceful and expressive. The Ihud Choir was well-coordinated and balanced. The “Dies irae” (Day of Wrath) was performed with genuine, persuasive excitement. Contrasts were shaped strongly and impressively, but minute nuances of dynamics were missing, substituting a pale mezzo- forte for a soft pianissimo, and texts were not always clearly intelligible.

The orchestra provided the instrumental support expertly and accurately, though sometimes requiring the conductor’s restraint so as not to overshadow the singing.

The audience responded with sincere enthusiasm, grateful for an impressive and inspiring performance of the demanding work.

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