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On November 13th 2016, the Sunday Evening Classics series at the Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies (Brigham Young University) featured Alon Sariel-mandolin (Israel/Germany), Izhar Elias-guitar (Holland) and Michael Tsalka-piano (Israel/Holland) in a program of works all based on a song of Paisiello. The three artists, sharing a passion for historical performance and contemporary music, all having busy international careers, meet a number of times throughout the year to perform together. Composers from Europe, Canada, Israel and Australia have written works for this unique trio. The works heard at the Jerusalem concert appear on the trio’s first album “Paisiello in Vienna” (Brilliant Classics). The trio’s recently issued CD “Sharkiya” (IMI) presents the world’s first recording of original music for a plucked trio (harpsichord, guitar and mandolin) by Israeli composer Yehezkel Braun (1922-2014).

 

“Nel cor più non mi sento” (In my heart I no more feel) appears in Giovanni Paisiello’s 1788 comic opera “L’amor contrasto”, better known as “La Molinara”. A simple and sweetly sentimental melody, indeed, a vehicle for ornamentation by singers of the day, it has served as the theme for a host of instrumental works by several European composers.  The program opened with Alon Sariel and Izhar Elias’ performance of Bartolomeo Bortolazzi’s Variations in G-Major opus 8 on the song. There is some doubt as to this almost obscure Italian composer’s exact dates (possibly 1772-1846); what, however, is known is that he was a central figure in the field of plucked instruments, touring Vienna, Leipzig, Dresden and London as a mandolin virtuoso and singer. He wrote instrumental and vocal music, becoming the author of two important books on mandolin- and guitar methods. In 1809 he moved to Brazil, where he had connections with local music, theatre, politics and masonry. Sariel and Elias’ reading of the work rode on Sariel’s beautifully crafted, cantabile playing, on fine balance between the two artists, on the constant variety that well-written variations offer and on playing in which charm and directness enjoyed an equal footing.

 

Born in Pressburg (Slovakia), Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778-1837) dedicated his Grande Sonata in C-major opus 37a (1810) to Bortolazzi. Hummel’s cosmopolitan style straddles Classical- and Romantic styles (Hummel studied with Mozart, Haydn, Salieri and Clementi). The Grande Sonata can be played on mandolin or violin and harpsichord or piano.  In the “Paisiello in Vienna” CD, Tsalka performs all the keyboard roles on fortepiano, well in keeping within the character of salon music of the time and whose sound meets plucked instruments at eye level. Playing on the BYU’s Steinway grand piano at the Jerusalem concert, Tsalka deftly pared down its volume to meet that of the mandolin, his touch lighter but shaped and expressive, their interaction imaginative, highlighting the different sound world of each tonality. Sariel took up the Andante movement’s enticement to add much embellishment, with both artists’ skilful and flexible rendering of the Rondo an intermixture of differently presented episodes, peppered with a dash of humour. Italian composer, guitarist, ‘cellist and singer Mauro Giuliani was one of the principal composers writing for piano and guitar, a seemingly unlikely combination. His Introduction and Variations in A-Major opus 113, written in the composer’s Vienna period, gave the audience the opportunity to hear and delight in Izhar Elias’s finely honed solo art. Following the unhurried piano introduction, Elias and Tsalka took turns to handle the melody and the piece’s whims and textures, with Elias engaging in ornately wrought phrase endings and transitions, building up momentum to end this fine concert piece with vigour.

 

Then to Ludwig van Beethoven’s Six Variations in G-Major WoO 70 for solo piano, one of the composer’s minor pieces, tossed off by Beethoven within a night to please a noblewoman next to whom he had been seated at an opera performance. Conforming to performance practice of the time, Michael Tsalka took the liberty to add just a few tasteful transitions and embellishments.  And, with the variations’ rapid runs, filigree textures and busy left hand moments, the audience was treated to elegant, finely detailed piano music, devoid of thick, heavy textures and certainly a far cry from the angry musings of Beethoven’s later works. The program concluded with all three artists performing prolific Bohemian composer J.B.Vanhal’s Six Variations in G-Major opus 42, for violin/flute and guitar/fortepiano. Following the piece’s opening flourish, the artists varied the work’s scoring and timbral colour by allotting a different instrumental combination to each variation, keeping the listener on his toes both visually and audially. Once again, each artist’s personal and different expression was instrumental in creating the ambiance of the salon of the Viennese aristocracy. We may not have been seated in the plush music room of a wealthy Austrian family, but we were certainly able to hear every filigree sound and fragile gesture played by the artists in the BYU auditorium.

 

Taking the audience back to the Middle East, the artists performed “Sharkiya” (East Wind) from their new CD, a work by Israeli composer Yehezkel Braun (1922-2014), its modal, inebriating soundscape delicately perfumed with exotic oriental rhythms and melodies.

 

http://pamelahickmansblog.blogspot.com

http://pamelahickmansmusicinterviews.blogspot.com

 

Photo: Sonja Bauermann

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over 60 leading women from across the world joined together last month for a panel discussion showcasing Israeli females in the lead.
Organized by The Israel Project (TIP) and the Embassy of Cyprus in Israel, the event served as a platform to discuss and understand the challenges and opportunities facing women in Israeli society in the modern age.
Among the panelists were popular journalist Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes. Former IDF commander Miri Eisin and Israeli Olympic athlete Maayan Davidovich.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, today (Thursday, 15 June 2017), in Thessaloniki, at the third trilateral summit, signed joint statements for the continued strengthening of relations.

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At a festive ceremony attended by Minister of Education Naftali Bennett, the Lauder Dormitory Building was inaugurated today at the Technion
state of the art building was donated to the Technion by World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder and his wife Jo Carole

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09 June 2017 – Jerusalem) The U.S. Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations Nikki Haley visited Yad Vashem today. The Ambassador was guided through the Holocaust History Museum by Dr. Robert Rozett, Director of Yad Vashem Libraries, participated in a memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance, visited the Children's Memorial and signed the Yad Vashem Guest Book.

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On Wednesday evening, June 7th, the Embassy of Slovenia in Tel Aviv celebrated 26 years of independence, and 25 years of bilateral relations with Israel. The commemoration was held at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation in Jaffa. The event was timed to coincide with visits by both the Minister of Education, Science and Sport Dr. Maja Makovec Brencic, and a high-level parliamentary delegation led by National Assembly President Dr. Milan Brglez.

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President Reuven Rivlin today (Wednesday) met at his residence in Jerusalem with United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Nikki R. Haley.

President Rivlin welcomed her and said, “You are a dear friend of Israel. We appreciate your strong stand on the world’s most important stage, in support of the security of the people and the State of Israel. With your support we see the beginning of a new era. Israel is no longer alone at the UN. Israel is no longer the UN’s punching bag.”

He continued, “When I spoke at the UN on Holocaust Memorial Day, I said that the UN must learn from the lessons of the past, and stand up against hatred and racism. I said it must end its obsession with targeting Israel. Progress has been made. Israel’s standing at the UN has improved. But sadly, we have a long way to go. Both in holding to account, public statements made by officials, and in supporting regulation to reduce the ridiculous number of discussions and resolutions against Israel. This is also true in the Human Rights Council - which has been hijacked as a weapon against Israel - and in UNESCO, where they seek to rub out the history of the Jewish people.”

The President thanked the Ambassador for her great contribution to the State of Israel, and said, “Ambassador Haley, as the representative the US - Israel’s greatest and strongest ally - we appreciate very much your support of Israel, and all you do to stand up for the values of freedom and democracy which we share. Welcome to Israel, welcome to Jerusalem.”

Ambassador Haley thanked the President for his warm welcome and said, “Thank you Mr. President for taking the time to meet with us, it is an absolute thrill to be here in Israel, I so much appreciate the support we have received from the people of Israel. But I feel somewhat guilty because all I did at the United Nations was tell the truth. I have never taken kindly to bullies, and the UN has bullied Israel for a very long time, and we are not going to let that happen anymore. It is a new day for Israel in the United Nations. We just got back from Geneva, talking about the Human Rights Council and hopefully it will be a new day at the Human Rights Council when it comes to Israel.”

She concluded by saying she was greatly looking forward to her visit to Israel and said, “I am looking forward to taking in the history, the beauty, the tradition, and all that comes with the magic of Israel. Thank you very much for having me it is a pleasure to be here.”

Photo credit: Mark Neiman (GPO)

Friday was a beautiful late spring day; the gardens were lovely, the weather was fine; the guests were elegantly attired; the refreshments were generous and delicious; all the makings of a happy celebration marking the National Day of Sweden. H.E. Carl Magnus Nesser, ambassador of Sweden to the State of Israel, hosted the event at the ambassadorial residence in Herzlia Pituach.

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President Reuven and First Lady Nechama Rivlin today, (Monday), welcomed President of the United States Donald J. Trump, and First Lady Melania Trump on arrival at Ben-Gurion International Airport, and then at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.

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  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, today (Monday, 22 May 2017), at Ben-Gurion International Airport, welcomed US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania with an honor guard.

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President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday , at a ceremony at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, received the diplomatic credentials of the new Ambassadors to Israel from Thailand and Spain. Each ceremony began with the raising of the flag and the playing of the national anthem of the visiting country, and - after the presentation of the credentials - the signing of the guest book, before the playing of Israel's national anthem 'Hatikva'.

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