TRIBUTE TO MIKHAIL GNESIN (1883 – 1957)
Songs and Chamber Music performed by an international ensemble
JMP CD 003 © Joodse Muziek Projecten, Amsterdam, 2009
* World premiere recordings / ** First complete recording on CD
Sovali (Sofie van Lier), soprano (NL)
Michel Marang, clarinet (NL)
Perry Robinson, soprano and sopranino clarinet (USA)
Grigory Sedukh, violin, piccolo-violin (RU)
Alexander Oratovski, cello (RU/NL)
Anat Fort, piano (IL/USA)
Marcel Worms, piano (NL)
Sara Crombach, piano (NL)
Roberto Haliffi, percussion (NL)
|01 Song of a Knight Errant for cello and piano (to the memory of the minstrel Süßkind von Trimberg), Op. 34 (1921)|
Jewish Songs for voice and piano, Op. 37 (1923-26)
|02 Yad Anugah Haitah Lah / Her Hand Was Delicate (Zalman Shneur)|
|03 Song of Mariamne (without words)|
|04 Shir Hashirim / Fragment from Song of Songs|
|05 Der Soyne ba di Toyern / The Enemy Is at the Gates (Osher Schwartzman) *|
|06 Ôra (Galilean Workman’s Dance). Variations for 4-hands piano, Op. 35 (1922-1923) *|
Three Melodies (Small Pieces) for clarinet, violin, cello and piano, Op. 60 (1942) *
|07 Song of Dzherčn|
|08 Ukrainian Dance|
|09 Lyric Intermezzo|
|Music for “The Story of Red-Headed Mottele by Josef Utkin” for voice and piano, Op. 44 (1926-1929) **|
|11 Pesnia o ryzhem Motele - Song about Red-headed Mottele|
|12 Prichëm i ne prichëm - Whose Business It Is and Whose It Isn’t|
|13 Na bazare - At the Market|
|14 V ocheredi - Standing in Line|
|15 Chasy (Pesnia tekushchikh del) - The Clock (Song of Current Affairs)|
|16 V synagoge - In the Synagogue|
|17 Pogrebal’naia - Funeral Song|
|18 V chëm fokus (razmyshlenia o zhizni) - What the Trick Is (Thinking about Life)|
|Jewish Orchestra at the Ball
of the City Mayor (Grotesque), Op. 41 (1926). Suite of the Music to Gogol’s
Arrangement for ensemble by Alexander Oratovski with improvisaties by Perry Robinson ( at the Theatre of V.E. Meyerhold, 2002)
|19 I. Félicitation (Phantasia)|
|20-25 II. Quadrille:|
|24 Petits Pieds|
|26 Trio for violin, cello and piano “to the Memory of our Perished children”, Op. 63 (1943)|
Special thanks to Society for the Welfare of the Israelites
in the Netherlands and everyone who helped to create this CD-project.
“The music of Gnesin will be one of the discoveries of the twenty-first century” – A.G. Yusfin
This album introduces the music of Mikhail Fabianovich Gnesin (1883, Rostov on the Don – 1957, Moscow), a great, wrongfully neglected Russian composer of the 20th century.
Gnesin composed many significant works inspired by Jewish musical tradition. He was a founding member of the St. Petersburg Jewish Music Society (1908), a group of young Jewish composers devoted to creating a Jewish style in classical music.
He played an important role in the musical culture of Russia and was influential as a music theoretician and teacher.
During the Stalin regime his music was unjustly forgotten. Gnesin’s music is expressive, attractive and well composed, and has such rare qualities as humour and irony. Reason enough to pay tribute to him.
James Loeffler, (2014).
"In Memory of Our Murdered (Jewish) Children"
Hearing the Holocaust in Soviet Jewish Culture.
Slavic Review. 73. 585-611. 10.5612 / slavicreview.73.3.585.
Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/289376133_In_Memory_of_Our_Murdered_Jewish_Children_Hearing_the_Holocaust_in_Soviet_Jewish_Culture?_sg=SoaMSYOBEj8w6-AAE12GmtXt8h-7h-0HZxCUCfG-ELas41CHvj7zcieL9xVOs-k_ONgyo3Y9YnJv8Tw
[accessed Dec 04 2017].
This article offers the first major investigation of the Holocaust in wartime
Soviet music and its connection to questions of Soviet Jewish identity. Moving
beyond the consistent focus on Shostakovich’s 1962 Babi Yar symphony, I offer an
alternative locus for the beginnings of Soviet musical representation of the
Nazi genocide in a now-forgotten composition by the Soviet Jewish composer
Mikhail Gnesin, his 1943 piano Trio, “In Memory of Our Perished Children.” I
trace the genesis of this work in Gnesin’s web of experiences before and during
the war in Leningrad, Moscow, Jerusalem, and Tashkent. Using a range of Russian
and Yiddish-language archival sources, I examine Gnesin’s carefully deliberate
strategy of aesthetic ambiguity in depicting death, Jewish and Soviet,
individual and collective.
Recapturing this forgotten cultural genealogy provides a very different kind of European historical soundtrack for the Holocaust. Instead of the categories of survivor and bystander, wartime witness and postwar remembrance, we find a more ambiguous form of early Holocaust memory. Rather than a mark of Jewish difference, Soviet music of the Holocaust emerges as an aspirational form of imperial belonging. Finally, the story of how the Holocaust first entered Soviet music challenges our contemporary assumptions about the coherence and legitimacy of “Holocaust music” as a category of cultural history and present-day performance.