Toronto’s ARC Ensemble in new recordings of music by Paul Ben-Haim, Dmitri Klebanov, and other neglected composers

Posted on: December 15, 2021

“By their names shall ye probably not know them: Walter Braunfels, Franz Reizenstein, Robert Kahn, Mikhail Gnessin,” writes William Littler in Friday’s (12/10) Toronto Star (Canada). “The list goes on. These are the composers time tried to forget and likely would have done, were it not for the work of such artists as Simon Wynberg and his fellow members of the ARC Ensemble. Their bad luck was to have been on the wrong side of history, politically speaking. For reasons of race, ethnicity or beliefs, they fell afoul of those in authority and suffered the consequences…. ARC Ensemble [Artists of the Royal Conservatory] is a flexible group of senior musicians from the Glenn Gould School, brought together to perform what the British record label Chandos is calling ‘music in exile.’ … The first recording for Chandos was devoted to chamber works by Paul Ben-Haim, who fled to Palestine in 1933 to become a leading voice of Jewish music…. Dmitri Klebanov … was one of those internal exiles, a Jewish-Ukrainian whose ethnicity diminished his potential Soviet career without completely extinguishing it.” Also included are Polish composers Jerzy Fitelberg and Szymon Laks, and Czechoslovakian composer Walter Kaufmann, who later “became music director of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra.”