Saturday, September 24, 2011

Hershey Felder's "Aliyah" Concerto
Ars Viva is thrilled to have Hershey Felder performing his own composition on our opening concerts September 25 and 26. Below are his own words in describing this poignant concerto."The meaning of the Hebrew word ALIYAH is "to rise up," and given that Jerusalem to the worldwide Jewish Diaspora is considered the highest point in the world, anyone who moves to make their lives in Israel is said to make ALIYAH.

From a musical standpoint, one of the techniques employed in the composition of this work for piano and orchestra is the sudden and deliberate use of rising keys at specific moments. From the beginning of the work - a suggestion of a musical anagram for the letters H-I-T-L-E-R coupled with the flavor of an Eastern European Jew, the musical trajectory takes us through the beginnings of WW II with hints ofCrystalnacht (The Night of Broken Glass), with a first movement entitled 1939; through the devastation, destruction and mourning with but only a memory of what was - 1945; up through the creation of the State of Israel, a direct result of the War in Europe, 1948.

It is the intention of ALIYAH to paint a picture of the time using familiar thematic material, where from the ashes, the State of Israel was born."

Hershey Felder is known to audiences worldwide for his acclaimed theatrical productions George Gershwin AloneMonsieur ChopinBeethoven As I Knew Him and Maestro: The Art of Leonard Bernstein. Combining his abilities as an actor and concert pianist, he has appeared in these works as well as in solo concerts in more than 4,000 performances worldwide.
Stanley Black's "Music of a People"
Solomon Schwartz (aka Stanley Black)
(1913 - 2002)
Solomon Schwartz (aka Stanley Black)
(1913 - 2002)
Ars Viva will be joined by members of the Chicago Master Singers and Kol Zimrah

Drawn from the spectacular London recordings, these brilliant and beloved orchestrations by Stanley Black of favorite Jewish melodies have never before been heard in the US in live performances: Havah Nagilah; Yes, My Darling Daughter; And the Angels Sing; Hebrew Melody; A letter to my Mother; Raisins and Almonds; Eili, Eili; Tzena Tzena; Freylach and Finale.

The following notes were written by Mr. Black for the original Decca recordings:

Historians and sociologists have for long debated whether the Jews are a nation, a race, or a religious group, and I suppose the correct answer is that they are a unique mixture of all three. But whatever they are ethnically, the Jews are a people whose 3000 years of historical background has been largely nomadic. Their culture and music stem from many sources and mirror the diverse environments of their migrations. Thus, although their music is basically semitic-oriental, there are also overtones of Russia and Poland; echoes of Rumania, Spain and Morocco; reflections of the Yemen and the Negev.

In choosing these melodies, I feel I have selected those which are not only the most familiar in the rich heritage of Jewish music, but also those which reflect the widest cross section of Jewish life. For the scoring of these melodies I utilized a very large orchestra and choir, not because I wanted an overpowering weight of sound per se, but because the kind of arrangements I had in mind required the most varied possible palette of orchestral and vocal color.

I have tried to reflect many things in these scores: not only the memory of a centuries-old struggle for existence, but also the comparatively recently acquired dignity of recognition as a nation; not only the evocative nostalgia of a fable related by a grandparent or a story read in the Bible, but also the joys and sorrows of the present day, felt as part of humanity rather than as an isolated group. I have tried to reflect the roots— roots old and new, whether in a Russian village or in a Polish ghetto; in the East End of London or the Lower East Side of New York; in the simplicity of a desert settlement or the sophistication of the great urban centers of the world. I have tried to reflect the characteristic traits— the inherent melancholy, the irrepressible gaiety, the resigned fatalism; the humor and warmth of the family circle; the instinctive respect for the Patriarch whether he be religious teacher or head of the family; and the unselfconscious love of the Matriarch who will ever be, simply, "Mamma." I have tried to echo the love of traditional ceremony both sacred and secular, the love of music, the love of dancing, the love of living.

It could be argued that these traits could also apply, in varying degrees, to all people, and I suppose they can. The Jews, after all, are only one segment of the much larger family of world humanity, and if this album is indeed "Music of a People," it is also music for all people.

— Stanley Black

Buy your tickets TODAY!

Single tickets are selling fast.
Don't wait to get your tickets to this rare look at a theater icon as both composer and concert pianist and the US Premiere of the wonderful Stanley Black arrangements. 

Sunday, September 25
3:00 p.m.
**Due to anticipated demand a second performance has been added:

Monday, September 26
7:30 p.m.

To order please call the box office: 847 673-6300 or go online: CLICK HERE
All concerts are held at the beautiful North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie
9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, Illinois

Ample FREE parking and many fine area restaurant.

These concerts are funded in part by the Illinois Arts Council and the
Skokie Fine Arts Commission
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