Mark Glanville - A Yiddish Winterreise

Published Monday 15th March 2010
Mark Glanville - A Yiddish Winterreise
Mark Glanville - A Yiddish Winterreise

STYLE: Classical
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
LABEL: Naxos 8572256

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

Song seven jogged something in my memory. It is "Der Rebe Hot Geheysen Ferule Zany" (The Rabbi Has Bid Us Be Happy) by Janot S. Roskin (1884-1946) and it reminded me of something by Aaron Copeland on a collection sung by the great Willard White. The fact that bass-baritone Mark Glanville can be compared to Willard White is high praise and should be enough to alert any lovers of bass singing to investigate further. The similarity between Copeland and this collection of Yiddish songs is probably due to him dipping from the same well, to coin a phrase. 'A Yiddish Winterreise' is a sequence of songs from the Yiddish repertoire devised by opera singer and synagogue cantor Glanville with some excellent arrangements by his pianist Alexander Knapp. They are following the musical steps of Franz Schubert whose "Winter's Journey" is one of the finest of all song cycles and here Glanville and Knapp move the story to a Holocaust context. The singer reflects on the life he has seen destroyed as he flees the Vilna ghetto while wondering what will happen when Messiah comes. All the texts are Yiddish with a translation supplied in the CD booklet. Yiddish was once the language of the Jews spoken throughout their worldwide Diaspora but it is now dying. In one way this is positive for it means the exiled Jews are becoming assimilated in their new homes, either speaking Hebrew in Israel or the local tongue when they live elsewhere. But there is no forgetting the fact that Yiddish as a spoken language throughout Eastern Europe was destroyed in just a few short years in the middle of the 20th Century. This beautiful recital of some deeply sorrowful music helps us to remember how close we are to the most appalling crimes against humanity, even today. Please listen.

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