Chazzan Helfgott and Itzhak Perlman Team Up for Magnificent Album


perlman-helfgot[Video below.] Violinist Itzhak Perlman and Chazzan Yitzchak Meir Helfgot have joined forces on a new album of Jewish songs.

Eternal Echoes: Songs and Dances for the Soul became available on September 4 from Sony Masterworks.

The album features liturgical and traditional works in new arrangements.

“It’s so easy for him…it’s just effortless,” says the legendary violinist, Itzhak Perlman, explaining what led him to pursue his inspired collaboration with Israeli-born and celebrated Chazzan Helfgot.

The melding of Perlman’s soulful tone and virtuosic technique with Chazzan Helfgot’s spellbinding tenor come together perfectly on their new album

While rooted in the cantorial-liturgical tradition of Jewish music, the ten tracks on Eternal Echoes encompass a wide range of sonic modes and musical moods.

Perlman has said that his idea “was to do ‘Jewish comfort music’ – everything that I recognize from my childhood is in this program.”

The recording grew out of musical conversations with Helfgot and long-time collaborator Hankus Netsky. The two masters began to explore the confluences of sound between the violinist’s famed classical technique (informed by a longtime interest in Jewish traditional music – Perlman has recorded a number of klezmer albums) with Helfgot’s magnificent golden voice, which has made the cantor a star of today’s liturgical music revival.

“I always find that there is a real communication between voice and violin,” says Perlman, who also has recorded with Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti. Like Perlman, Helfgot has performed globally to rave reviews.

Says Helfgot: “this was the fulfillment of a dream. When I was a child growing up I always knew about Itzhak Perlman, so of course I said yes, right away! I am very happy this dream became real.”

To craft the arrangements and play the piano parts, Perlman called upon Netsky, with whom he had collaborated on past klezmer recordings. Netsky aimed for “a beautiful chamber orchestra sound, nothing too ostentatious, to really let the soloists shine.” For five of the pieces he developed orchestral arrangements, and for the rest, other combinations that reflected the traditions of this music.

“Cantorial music really developed almost like opera for people who didn’t have opera,” the pianist-arranger explains. “The text is the religious text, and you paint a picture with it musically.”

These exquisitely crafted musical pictures include a stately and dramatic arrangement of “Sheyibone Bays Hamikdosh,” a tune Perlman remembers from Shabbos morning daveningin Israel; the operatic “Shoyfer Shel Moshiach,” written by Abraham Goldfaden, father of the Yiddish theater; the shepherd’s lament “Romanian Doyne“; “Dem Trisker Rebben’s Niggun,” a song Perlman learned from his klezmer collaborators; “Mizmor L’Dovid,” which may be the most famous piece on the album; and “A Dudele,” which comes from the folk rather than the liturgical tradition. The album wraps up with “Kol Nidrei,” in a simple chamber-music setting that contrasts tastefully with past grandiose arrangements.

As reflected in its title, Eternal Echoes: Songs and Dances for the Soul, evokes both history and permanence: “There is so much history in this music,” says Perlman. “For me, every little musical groan or sob that happens is Jewish history. It makes you think.”

Click here for samples from the new album.

Click below for a video of Itzhak Perlman Discussing the new album:

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{Andy Newscenter}