Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts presents Live Music Project's "Jewish Themes"


Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts presents resident musical ensemble, Live Music Project (LMP) with "Jewish Themes" on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 8 p.m. in the Kelley Theatre at the Quick Center for the Arts.

"Jewish Themes" explores the secular and mystical worlds associated with the light and dark sides of the Jewish experience. LMP Co-founder Netta Hadari, who is an accomplished violinist as well as an Israeli, stresses the universality of the stories chosen for this program. "These stories are of survival, assimilation, productivity and creativity and are taken from many different genres that have evolved over many eras. We present the major themes of this small band of people through their rich music, history and culture and, in doing so, we embrace the many similarities of obstacles that struggling people of the world have experienced and continue to experience."

Live Music Project is the only orchestra in Connecticut that plays without a conductor and that fact is only one of many that tantalize audiences and draw them to this unusual ensemble. The group takes pains to craft each performance, employing the highest musical standards, into an approachable presentation that features music alone as well as music played in concert with the spoken word.

Under the direction of Hadari, the musicians penetrate the fine qualities of an early string symphony by Jewish composer Felix Mendelssohn with a sprightly performance; and Swiss-born American Jewish composer Ernest Bloch's romantic "Suite Hébraïque" features LMP's principal violist, Ellen Higham.

"The Golem," said to have been created by a mystical rabbi as a protector of the Jews, is powerfully resurrected in a new telling of the centuries-old legend. LMP co-founder Daniel Smithhistory and culture and, in doing so, we embrace the many similarities of obstacles that struggling people of the world have experienced and continue to experience."

Live Music Project is the only orchestra in Connecticut that plays without a conductor and that fact is only one of many that tantalize audiences and draw them to this unusual ensemble. The group takes pains to craft each performance, employing the highest musical standards, into an approachable presentation that features music alone as well as music played in concert with the spoken word.

Under the direction of Hadari, the musicians penetrate the fine qualities of an early string symphony by Jewish composer Felix Mendelssohn with a sprightly performance; and Swiss-born American Jewish composer Ernest Bloch's romantic "Suite Hébraïque" features LMP's principal violist, Ellen Higham.

"The Golem," said to have been created by a mystical rabbi as a protector of the Jews, is powerfully resurrected in a new telling of the centuries-old legend. LMP co-founder Daniel Smith has composed an eerie original score that adds an evocative mood to the reading.

Lighter Jewish traditions are touched upon in the work of the prolific Isaac Bashevis Singer who expresses a charming and funny set of circumstances that pits assimilation against old world ways in "The Son From America."

Joining the LMP ensemble, are members of the internationally renowned ensemble Veretski Pass who will play an assortment of traditional European klezmer music not often heard.  And New Haven cantor Joshua Konigsberg performs sacred Jewish music.

Jewish history is filled with examples of hatred of the Jews and of their many accomplishments. LMP exposes German composer Richard Wagner's harsh view of Jewish musicians in a reading of a treatise he wrote that argues in support of a view of the inferiority of Jewish composers and advocates suppression of their work.

It is but a short distance from this denouncement of the Jews to the confounding approval of the Nazi regime that Leni Riefenstahl expressed in her epic Nazi propaganda film, "The Triumph of the Will." She featured the Nazi anthem, "Die Fahne Hoch," prominently in the film and LMP has provided a new arrangement for this anthem and presents it as a chilling example of the negative use of music. The Nazis introduced a violent new era for the Jews of Europe, when they used their anthem to rile up the German population against Jewish Germans on "Kristallnacht." On that devastating and unforgettable night, the Nazis smashed windows in Jewish homes, shops and synagogues, and as their fury and brutality crescendoed, they proceeded with the beating and killing of thousands throughout Berlin.

Concluding the evening, is a dramatic reading of the deeply powerful drama, "The Battle of the Warsaw Ghetto," originally aired as a radio program in 1943. Accompanying the actors as they read is an original orchestral score by Daniel Smith.

Tickets are $30 and are available online at www.quickcenter.com or by calling the Box Office at (203) 254-4010. The toll free number is 1-877-ARTS-396. For more information, please visit the website at www.quickcenter.com.

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Media Contact: Joan Grant, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, jgrant@fairfield.edu

Posted on January 16, 2008

Vol. 40, No. 156