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Artist/Band: David Ezra Okonsar
Fervent researcher and aficionado of Jewish music and Klezmer, the composer adopts here an expanded tonal language and models his renditions of the traditional Jewish melodies on the Hungarian Rhapsodies by Franz Liszt.
The themes featured in this series are laden with centuries of passion, love, hope and despair. They are the expression of most natural, sincere and authentic feelings.
They move us directly and are able to speak to anyone at all times. Melancholy, sorrow, heartache coexist with bright cheerfulness and happiness in both minor and major modes.
This selection of eight numbers among the vast Ashkenazi music repertoire includes a number of Klezmer tunes as well.
In some pieces, for instance the "Hanukkah Medley" N.8 and "Purim" N.6, several related themes are combined and used together. In "Shalom Aleichem" N.2, both "Shalom Aleichem" melodies are used. Other Rhapsodies are variations and developments on one single tune except for "Hora Mamtera" N.3 where three Nigun's are used in the middle section.
In both spirit and pianistic elaboration, even for the wording of the title, Hebraic Rhapsodies reflect on the Hungarian Rhapsodies by Franz Liszt. There is a resemblance, more in spirit than in actual notes, between Liszt's tunes borrowed from Roman folk culture and the Hebraic themes. Also the Hungarian musical scale and other scales found in Gypsy music are close to many Hebraic modes and scales.