classical review: The closing concert of the Israeli Music Festival

Israeli classical music can be excellent, so why do so few people give it a shot?

Hanoch Jacoby (photo credit: WIKIPEDIA)
Hanoch Jacoby
(photo credit: WIKIPEDIA)
The Israeli Music Festival, which aims to celebrate the cause of Israeli music, is no doubt a laudable undertaking.
In actual fact, though, it is predominantly a public relations event, demonstrating that an effort must be made to get concert audiences to listen to Israeli music. This was a wasted effort, however, for the audience voted with its feet, largely staying away, leaving the hall half-empty – or, as the organizers might say, half full.
Since, not unexpectedly, Israeli music is not an attraction for Israeli audiences and cannot be rammed down its throat by force, more effective methods of luring the audience might be recommendable, such as inserting an Israeli work in the middle of a regular classical concert program.
The captive audience might then gradually become familiar with Israeli music. Such a method would be less glamorous than a festival, and would rob the organizers of credit for their efforts, but might possibly achieve its purpose in the longer run.
In Aharon Harlap’s Concerto for Two Pianos, the duo pianists Tami Kanazawa and Yuval Admoni performed the work with dazzling virtuosity, admirable mutual attentiveness and perfect coordination with the orchestra.
Wide-awake and often explosive rhythms were electrifying and rendered with split-second accuracy.
The program’s most ancient work was Hanoch Jacoby’s Symphonic Prologue (1948). With its bashful dissonances and angular melodies it was considered ultra-modernist when first performed, but now sounds almost Romantic. Which proves that musical tastes change – if one lets them take their time.
The most recent work was Ziv Cojocaru’s Links Metamorphosis. After considerable turbulence, the surprising conclusion was a gradual drum solo diminuendo dying away to a pianissimo.
Conducted authoritatively by Yuval Zorn, the Symphony Orchestra Rishon Lezion did its very best to perform the works accurately and impressively.
All the works deserved to be heard and enjoyed by a much larger audience.