Ra’anana Symphonette is all in the family

The first concert of the 2019-20 season will highlight the musical works of the Schumann family: Robert, Clara, and Johannes Brahms, their close friend and “almost adopted” son.

Pianist Keren Kagarlitsky (photo credit: RAMI TZALKA)
Pianist Keren Kagarlitsky
(photo credit: RAMI TZALKA)
Musical families, past and present, will be the connecting thread through the new season of the Ra’anana Symphonette Orchestra, which begins next week on October 22.
The season will open with pianist Michal Tal performing Clara Schumann’s Piano Concerto with Keren Kagarlitsky, assistant conductor of the RSO, and Efrat Ben-Yaakov, narrator and reader of letters between Clara and Robert Schumann.
“We chose the theme of families because family ties are a normal value, often understated and thought of as old-fashioned, yet exceedingly important in music-making and life in general,” says Omer Welber, RSO’s musical director. “Our choice of ‘Families’ will honor noted musical families of performers and composers, both contemporary and classic, and give our audience a chance to meet them. I am delighted to say my invitation was overwhelmingly accepted, and participants are coming to perform with us from all over the globe.”
Welber says one of his goals for the season is to “introduce different models of musical families,” ranging from classic to modern and conventional to non-conventional.
The first concert of the 2019-20 season will highlight the musical works of the Schumann family: Robert, Clara, and Johannes Brahms, their close friend and “almost adopted” son.
“Theirs was a triangular family, which is a bit complicated and unconventional,” Welber explains. “The three all loved each other, and brought his or her energy to the family model. All three were composers, as well as pianists, influencing the music of one another.”
 Clara was a phenomenal child prodigy. At the age of 14, she composed the piano concerto which will be performed by Tal. It was at this young age Clara met Robert Schumann. Years later, after they were married, her ideal was to be the wife of Robert Schumann, the champion of his music, and later, the mother to eight children.
Her skills, nevertheless, elevated her as an important force in music of her time, (1819-96). During her composer – husband’s bouts with mental illness and after his death at age 46, she supported her family for many years and attained a place of excellence as a piano instructor of the highest level. Her name is cherished in Germany and her picture for many years adorned a banknote in Germany.
“Clara Schumann’s music, though, is relatively unknown,” Tal explains. “I think its beauty and bravura will surprise many.”
Tal first performed the concerto at last year’s Piano Festival in Jerusalem under the direction of Prof. Michael Wolpe.
“Musically speaking, I find this piano concerto exciting with its tremendous leaps, and distant key relationships,” Tal said. “The second movement is innovative. It is a conversation for solo piano and solo cello, taking you out of the concerto form and into a genre of chamber music.”
Tal is one of the leading pianists and educators in Israel. She is on the faculty of the Tel Aviv University’s Buchmann-Mehta School of Music and the Givatayim Conservatory. She is also a soloist of international acclaim, a judge at international competitions and esteemed teacher of master classes.
Music plays an important role in her family. She is married to Shlomo Tintpulver, one of Israel’s finest music educators, and mother of two, Shiri and Yonatan. Shiri is now advancing her cello studies in Germany and playing in the Opera Comic in Berlin.
Sharing the stage with Tal is conductor Kargarlitsky, who also became further acquainted with Clara Schumann through the Piano Festival, conducting Tal’s performance.
“I found the musical influence Clara and Robert had on each other fascinating,” says Kagarlitsky. “You can hear it in the music and see it on the page. They both chose to write concertos for piano in the key of A minor and shared orchestration skills. Their love and devotion for each other was strong. Clara was Robert’s muse and she was his champion.”
For ticket information: 09-7457773, www.symphonette.co.il