Festival Reveiew: Kol Hamusica Spring Festival Kfar Blum, February 27-March 1

Artistic director and celebrated cellist in his own right Zvi Plesser set out his eclectic stall in no uncertain terms.

Jordan River bridge 370 (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Jordan River bridge 370
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The Kol Hamusica Spring Festival, which took place at the Pastoral Hotel in Kfar Blum February 27-March 1, provided a tantalizing taste of the full-blown Kol Hamusica classical music bash, which will take place at the same venue in July.
Artistic director and celebrated cellist in his own right Zvi Plesser set out his eclectic stall in no uncertain terms, and provided the festival patrons with a generously wide offering of musical formats and styles to enjoy and feed off.
Plesser showed his wide-ranging hand from the start and, prior to Thursday evening’s Made in Israel concert, he asked the members of the audience to “open your ears and heart” and to embrace the diversity of the program. It would have been hard to find a more heterogeneous contemporary lineup, which took in a typically emotive work by Paul Ben Haim, An Israeli Medley by Menachem Nebenhaus, the world premiere of Oded Zehavi’s Adir VeNaor and songs written and performed by 27-year-old vocalist- cellist Maya Belsitzman and veteran rocker Hemi Rudner.
Belsitzman is best known for her stirring pop vocal and instrumental work, but she turned in a fine classical performance with The Israel Camerata Jerusalem, under conductor Noam Tzur, as well as thrilling the audience with her pristine vocal delivery of Israeli songs.
Rudner’s spot was perhaps the revelation of the proceedings as he deftly harnessed his normally mellifluous vocals to the far more acerbic intent of Zehavi’s composition, before performing some of his best known hits – “Geula” and “Melancholia” were in there – with the substantial underpinning of the Jerusalem ensemble. Rudner appeared to be having the time of his life, uncharacteristic formal duds notwithstanding.
The Friday afternoon show by the Quartettokan group, fronted by singer Miriam Tokan, at Kibbutz Baram maintained the eclectic ethos, with material by Lebanese singer Fairuz, songs based on texts by Bialik and even a rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine” in the mix. The Saturday morning From Bach to Part cello concert, which featured cello twosomes and foursomes, as the title suggested, also dipped into widely ranging musical worlds, while the screening of 1920 film The Golem, to a live performance of Betty Olivero’s score written for the occasion, stretched the weekend’s entertainment even further.