Songs from a Lost World of Italian Jewish Composers 1920-1945
Equilibrium EQL 123

Caroline Helton, Soprano
Kathryn Goodson, Pianist
Total Playing Time : 59:41
Cover : Castello di Rocca Ciglie in Piemont Region by Patricia Bongiovanni
  1. Mario Castelnuovo–Tedesco Vocalise–Étude (Chant Hébraïque) Op. 53/3 (1928) 5:05
  2.- 5. Mario Castelnuovo–Tedesco Quattro sonetti da "La Vita Nova" Op.41 (1926) Lyrics by Dante Alighieri 11:07
  2.   Cavalcando l'altr'ier per un cammino 2:15
  3.   Negli occhi porta la mia donna Amore 2:42
  4.   Tanto gentile e tanto onesta pare 3:03
  5.   Deh, peregrini che pensosi andate 3:07
  6.-9. Vittorio Rieti Quattro liriche italiane (1945) 9:23
  6.   E per un bel cantar 2:49
  7.   La non vuol esser più mia 2:20
  8.   E lo mio cor s'inchina 2:21
  9.   Canti ognun 1:53
10.-11. Leone Sinigaglia Vecchie canzoni popolari del Piemonte, raccolte e trascritte da Leone Sinigaglia (1914-1927) 5:34
10.   Verdolin Verdolinetto 2:48
11.   Il grillo e la formica 2:46
12. Guido Alberto Fano Le Lis (Alphonse de Lamartine - 1916) 5:10
13. Guido Alberto Fano Lungi, lungi from Due poemi per canto e grande orchestra (Giosuè Carducci, dal Lyrische Intermezzo auf Flügeln des Gesanges di Heinrich Heine, 1906-1907) 10:04
14.-17. Vittorio Rieti Quatre poèmes de Max Jacob (1933) 8:42
14.   La crise 1:20
15.   Le noyer fatal 2:54
16.   Soir d'été 2:59
17.   Monsieur le Duc 1:29
18. Mario Castelnuovo–Tedesco L'infinito Op.22 (1921) Lyrics by Giacomo Leopardi 4:36

Soprano, Caroline Helton, and Pianist, Kathryn Goodson bring to life with sensitivity, bravura and vibrancy these Songs from a Lost World of Italian Jewish Composers 1910-1945. Life for Jews in Italy was qualitatively different from that of Jews in the rest of Europe in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Italian Jewish intellectuals had played a major role in the political and social process of Italian unification in the mid 19th century, and they were more integrated into Italian society. Italian Jewish composers wrote music employing European compositional styles and forms, partaking of inspiration from French impressionism of Debussy to the chromaticism of Richard Strauss, rarely drawing on Jewish cultural heritage as a source of musical inspiration. However, with the enforcement of the racial laws after 1938 and even more in 1943-45 when Italy was occupied by Nazi Germany, prominent Jewish composers lost their jobs, were forced into hiding or forced to flee in order to escape from persecution and deportation to the death camps, and some perished in the Shoah. Only the resilience of Italian Jews and the support they received from significant portions of the Italian population mitigated the fate of the Italian Jews compared to that of other European Jews. Because of the chaos that followed World War II, much of the music of the composers on this recording was essentially lost, and this is the first time any of these songs, (except the last track, L'Infinito) has been recorded. Only through the efforts of the composers' family members and musicologists such as Aloma Bardi have these pieces been preserved and uncovered, and the performers owe them an enormous debt of gratitude. In return Equilibrium offers kudos to Dr. Helton and Dr. Goodson for their meaningful interpretations of these works.

University of Michigan : School of Music, Theatre & Dance
Britton Recital Hall, Moore Building, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Sunday, January 30th, 2011 5:00 p.m

Soprano Caroline Helton and pianist Kathryn Goodson, who recently released their first CD of solo vocal music by Jewish composers entitled Voices of the Holocaust, are happy to announce that they will be performing a new program of music exclusively by Italian Jewish composers whose lives were affected by the Holocaust. With the help of Italian musicologist Aloma Bardi, Helton and Goodson have prepared a program that displays the astonishing variety of vocal composition from Italian Jewish composers in the period before and during World War II. Because of the level of integration Jews experienced in Italian society and because of their influence on cultural trends as part of the Italian intelligentsia, the music rarely displays a uniquely “Jewish” sound, neither are the texts based on Jewish themes. However, after the institution of the Racial Laws in 1938, and even more so after the Nazi occupation of Italy in 1943, the composers were forced to suffer the consequences of their heritage at that time, and their compositions and personal lives suffered the same fate of persecution as their counterparts in the rest of Nazi-occupied Europe.

The pieces on the program have very rarely been performed in Italy. The recital will mark the American premiere of many of the pieces, including Mario Castelnuovo’s Vocalise (Chant Hebraïque), which until recently was believed to be lost. The texts are variously drawn from the great Italian poets Dante, Giosuè Carducci and Giacomo Leopardi, the French Jewish poet Max Jacob, as well as folk songs in Piedmontese dialect. The program is sponsored by the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan and the Italian Consulate of Detroit. Admission is free.

“It is an extreme privilege to have my very own personal musicologist, Aloma Bardi, finding these gems for Kathryn and me to perform,” explains Helton. “Given the state of publishing and archives in Italy after World War II, music by obscure composers (made all the more obscure by the fact they were Jewish) is terribly difficult to find. Aloma actually found a piece that was thought to be lost Vocalise (Chant Hebraïque) in our own Library of Congress. Not only has Aloma done years of research, but she has also matched the repertoire to my voice, so that Kathryn and I were able to compile a musically diverse program very easily out of the pieces she provided us.”
The pieces on the program have very rarely been performed in Italy. The recital will mark the American premiere of many of them, including Mario Castelnuovo’s Vocalise (Chant Hebraïque), which until recently was believed to be lost. The texts are variously drawn from the great Italian poets Dante, Giosuè Carducci, and Giacomo Leopardi, as well as the French Jewish poet Max Jacob.
“Each composer represented on this program has a completely unique voice in his harmonic vocabulary, piano writing and text setting,” Helton continues. “The subject matter ranges from the most lighthearted settings of folk tunes in the Piedmontese dialect (spoken by Primo Levi) to the most profound poetry by beloved Italian masters. Each composer captures the heart and soul of the text in his settings and enlarges that text through the magic of melody and harmony to create song, the most literary of musical art forms. Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco is profound (think Debussy); Vittorio Rieti is playful and ironic, like Poulenc and Kurt Weill; Luigi Sinigaglia is sweet; and Guido Alberto Fano has a lush Puccini style.”