The Barclays Center has shone the limelight on homegrown talents and basketball, but now the stadium concert hall is bringing to stage violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman to showcase one of Brooklyn’s greatest musical contributions: Jewish cantorial music.
Joining Perlman on Feb. 28 will be Chazzan Yitzchak Meir Helfgot to get the crowd clapping to Israeli and Klezmer songs, but the main attraction will be a sonorous display of liturgical singing often used to lead a shul in davening.
“Brooklyn is where cantorial music was born in the states. Some of the greatest Jewish voices came from shuls [here],” said Helfgot through translator and cantor Benny Rogosnitzky. “This is the largest cantorial event in the last five or six years and there’s a lot of great buzz.”
Helfgot’s collaboration with Perlman has produced the album “Eternal Echoes: Songs and Dances for the Soul,” a tour de force of the Helfgot’s soaring vocals and Perlman’s singing strings that touch on themes often reserved for Yomim Tovim such as Yom Kippur.
And while Perlman is a household name, the violinist was adamant that Helfgot’s singing prowess was not to be missed.
“His voice, his timber, and the complexity of his voice is amazing,” said Perlman. “I’m always affected by sound, whether it’s sound of an instrument or of a voice, it’s like your calling card.”
Indeed the cantor’s voice has an operatic quality that dances between the mournful and life-affirming. The song “Kol Nidrei,” with its undulating notes and powerful declarations, is bound to bring any listener to their knees, while “Mizmor L’Dovid” may encourage folks to sing along to the slow waltz-like rhythm.
But the concert won’t be all from the album, and Perlman promised he and the cantor would have the crowd on their feet with Jewish favorites.
“We want to make it a simcha!” he said. “It’s a happening – a happy happening!”
Helfgot said the concert at the Barclays Center will be a special event for him as well – not only because he gets to perform in his hometown, but also because it’s his first time inside the biggest and latest addition to the borough.
“I’ve been to many halls around the world, but I haven’t been to the one right in this neighborhood,” he said. “Until now, waiting in traffic I didn’t know what it was all for – but now it’s come full circle.”
Source: BROOKLYN DAILY