By Donald Isler
Voices – A Three Movement Suite for Piano and Historical Recordings by Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin
Inna Faliks, Pianist
This work should be of interest to those interested in Jewish traditional music, modern compositional techniques, and excellent pianism. The first movement was completed some years before the other two, and I liked it when I first heard it. The idea of a pianist on stage accompanying musicians from long ago struck me as wild, but exciting, and still does.
In that first movement one hears a repeated D minor chord over and over, but it has a mesmerizing effect, and leads into the body of the movement, where the pianist accompanies a 1912 recording of the famous cantor, Gershon Sirota (born 1874 – died in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising – 1943) and his choir.
Is the past, past, or is it really part of the present?! This performance makes you rethink this………
The second movement, Zhok, features Ms. Faliks playing with a recording of a klezmer trumpet player, and that, in turn, leads to the finale, Freydele, in which she plays with a 1953 recording of the Yiddish cantor (they had female cantors in those days?!) and actress, Freydele Osher. The Suite concludes with a calmer, smaller version of the D minor motive which one heard at the beginning of the work.
A very big part of the success of this performance is the fact that the pianist, Inna Faliks, who commissioned Voices, is so impressive. She has strength, technique, intensity, and an ear for interesting sonorities that’s constantly at work.
Well worth hearing!