Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Shir Hashirim Asher L'Sefarad

In the mail... "Aires de Sefarad", an interesting recording by Duo 46. Duo 46 is guitarist Dr. Matt Gould and violinist Beth Ilana Schneider.

The project features composer Jorge Liderman's 46 song cycle setting of unchanged original Ladino melodies that were sung by the Sephardic Jews. Here's some info from their website:
Born in Buenos Aires, Jorge Liderman is quickly becoming one of the most highly-regarded South American composers of today, with his works being performed worldwide. Though his music is experimental, it is also extremely colorful, with a strong nationalistic undercurrent. Aires de Sefarad (Airs from Spain) is a cycle of 46 songs without words for violin and guitar, and although many of them are love songs, they vary in character and their musical nature. These songs highlight, at the core of their musical structure, unchanged original melodies that were sung in Ladino by the Spanish, or by the Hebrew, Sephardic Jews. After the Spanish Inquisition, a large number of Jews emigrated to Portugal, Tunis, Morocco, Turkey and Israel among other countries. After a 2003 visit to Spain, walking through the Jewish quarter in Cordoba and experiencing the vibrant life of the region, Liderman was inspired to write Aires de Sefarad. As he says, "This work reflects my impressions of past and present Spain in its vast and varied culture.
The music is well-played and the duo has a good rapport. The songs are short, with none longer than three minutes, and most lasting about a minute and a half or so. The flow from track to track is nice and makes harmonic sense. If you'd like to hear traditional Ladino melodies explored in depth in a classical style, or if you like art music featuring the combination of violin and classical guitar, check out Duo 46.