Concert Review: Echoes of klezmer tradition on Detroit Symphony program

Posted on: December 14, 2009

In Saturday’s (12/12) Detroit Free Press, Mark Stryker writes, “Osvaldo Golijov, David Schiff and the Detroit-born Paul Schoenfield are among the handful of contemporary composers who have folded klezmer—the traditional dance music of Eastern European Jews—into classical music. Add to the list Wlad Marhulets, a precocious 23-year-old Polish composer studying at the Juilliard School with John Corigliano. The Detroit Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Andrew Litton, gave the world premiere of Marhulets’ Concerto for Klezmer Clarinet on Thursday with the dynamic soloist David Krakauer, who commissioned the piece. Major orchestras don’t usually engage such a young composer, but Corigliano recommended his talented student to DSO music director Leonard Slatkin, who was intrigued by the klezmer score. … In the opening movement, the clarinet played scampering klezmer lines, full of authentically plangent intervals, bent pitches, ecstatic shrieks, sliding glissandos and improvised ornaments. The structure recalled a fantasia of stop-and-go rhythms and stuttering repetitions. … Krakauer played with astounding virtuosity and charisma. Known for blending klezmer and jazz but equally comfortable in classical circles, he filled the hall with a smoky, vocalized sound.” The program opened with Elgar’s overture Cockaigne and Holst’s The Planets.

Posted December 14, 2009