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Tikkun ha olam (the healing or repairing of the world) is an ancient Jewish mystical concept that was further developed by 16th-century Cabbalists. It asserts that one of the main purposes of human existence is to recognize and uplift divine sparks trapped within gross matter, thereby revealing and redeeming the true essence of the world.
Klezmer music, or music of the klezmorim, was instrumental music of the Jews of Eastern Europe. It cannot be considered folk music in the usual sense of the word because it was created and performed not by peasants, but by professional musicians, who earned their living through public performance (usually during weddings or other celebrations) and who transmitted their art from father to son for generations.
In the 1970s, this music was revived in America through the enthusiastic efforts of a number of young musicians searching for their roots, and has since gained popularity all over the world. Players trying to approach this music today have essentially two existing choices. They can either use as a base for imitation the mostly American recordings, which were made in studios at various periods of the twentieth century, or they can work with the only written source available to them, the tunes collected and transcribed by ethnomusicologists in Eastern Europe before World War II.
Since its foundation, the Klezmerata Fiorentina has studied one of the largest of such collections, the archive created in the 1920s and ’30s by the great Jewish-Ukrainian ethnomusicologist, Moshe Beregovski. Because he transcribed only the tune and gave no performance guidelines, a musician working with these authentic and beautiful melodies must become a creative interpreter in order to present the material in concert form. For this reason, a very specific manner of playing has to be developed which imitates the subtleties and intonations of the Yiddish language. Historically, the artistry of a klezmer musician was judged by his ability to perform the most varied musical material “in Yiddish”. The same tune could be played in many different ways depending on the occasion, place, mood or technical ability of the interpreter.
This program is almost entirely based on the reinterpretation of old traditional melodies collected in Ukraine by the Jewish ethnomusicologist, Moshe Beregovski, before the Shoah. The area from which these tunes come was the birthplace of Hassidism, a popular 18th-century movement of Jewish spiritual renewal. Its charismatic founder, the Baal Shem Tov, put special emphasis on music and dance as a form of spiritual exercise or prayer.
The program consists of several suites, which combine these original tunes interpreted as niggunim (devotional meditative hassidic songs without words) or ecstatic dances. The titles of the resulting pieces are all inspired by biblical texts, in particular the book of Ecclesiastes.
This program is based on the reinterpretation of music from the southern frontier of Ukraine. Extremely varied and exciting, this musical material is influenced by Balkan, gypsy, Turkish, Ukrainian and, of course, Yiddish traditions, which coexisted over the centuries on vast territories along the shores of the Black Sea. These melodies are also part of the family heritage of the Klezmerata’s founder, Igor Polesitsky.
The Jewish shtetl, Kalinindorf, where Igor’s grandparents were married in 1924, was destroyed by the Nazis, as were all of its inhabitants. The program is designed as a musical tribute to the lives, both joyful and sorrowful, of these people. Many of the pieces interpreted during the concert were actually played at that wedding.
This program offers an instrumental reinterpretation of many of the most famous Jewish songs. Our goal is to present to the public some of the endless possibilities for interpretation concealed within these well-known and universally beloved melodies.
The songs are performed as instrumental program music, with the texts serving as a listening guide.
Another possible variant includes the participation of an American vocalist, Faye Nepon, who performs the original songs, which the ensemble then elaborates instrumentally.
This program is the reinterpretation of sacred music of the isolated, Transylvanian Hassidic community collected before the Second World War and the Shoah by the Romanian musicologist, Max Eisikovitz.
The unusually rich and genuine musical material is perfectly suited to multilayer instrumental elaboration, which evokes the timeless, mystical atmospheres of the Carpathians, spiritual longing of the exiled souls and ecstatic joy of Hassidic dance.
A version of this program may be performed with the addition of live electronics.
Throughout history, Jewish musicians in Eastern Europe elaborated all kinds of musical materials, from Yiddish folk songs, ancient synagogue melodies and hassidic niggunim to gypsy , Romanian or Ukrainian tunes, and later Viennese waltzes, polkas, popular theater airs, etc. These, however, were performed in a characteristically klezmer style, with a very distinctive instrumental technique and intonation.
Klezmerizations is our translation of a selection of very well known pieces of Western music (from Shostakovich and Mahler to Neapolitan songs, and Negro spirituals) into the Yiddish musical language.