Sunday, August 03, 2003

Some music reviews you won’t find in Country Yossi magazine:

The reviews are excessively nasty, and I do wish that the tone was different, but ultimately, I think that they are for the most part accurate.

The Philharmonic Experience: The Music of Rabbi Michel Twersky (Jewish Alternative Movement)
"Twerski is a prominent Hasidic rabbi from Milwaukee, known for his settings of the liturgy as much for his leadership and warmth. Recently, the Milwaukee Symphony performed arrangements of some of his compositions. This CD, however, uses a pickup group composed of Israel Philharmonic players conducted by Zeev Dorman, pianist Daniel Beliavsky and tenor Avromie Flam, performing charts by Yisroel Lamm. The result is infuriating. Twerski's melodies are charming and simple, the work of a man who is not a professional musician but who clearly has the soul of a tzadik. Lamm's arrangements are flatulent pseudo-Broadway bombast, a perfect complement to Flam's posturing vocals, drenched in fake emotion. The orchestra plays exceptionally well, but to what purpose? It is unusual for a record to make me angry. This record did that by insulting the music it purports to showcase. Rating: no stars, with a heartfelt apology to Rabbi Twerski."

And this brief review of Rabbi Moshe Shur's: "Renaissance" (Hillel):
"Imitation Carlebach meets "smooth jazz." Nightmarish. Rating: no stars."

Interestingly, though, he likes Williger’s Carlebach Friday Night (Sameach) :
Williger set out to recreate the Carlebach kabbalat shabbat repertoire and, despite the presence of a synth and electric keyboards, he manages the job quite nicely. Whats missing, of course, is Reb Shlomo's particular brand of ruakh and his storytelling, but the music is here and well performed. Williger's voice is not much more than serviceable, but if you are into Carlebach you won't have a big problem with it. The "Titkabel" is particularly spirited. Rating: 4 stars.

Update: For some reason the latter two links aren't working right now, but, if you Google "George Robinson Shur" and "George Robinson Williger" you'll find them.