Enchanting home concert

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On a glorious sunny evening, more than 60 Arran residents and visitors gathered at a spacious Whiting Bay home last Thursday to hear Lev Atlas weave his special brand of magical music, writes Sharon Shenhav.

The Russian born virtuoso enchanted the audience with his exquisite violin playing of Russian and Jewish concertos and songs.  As Lev illustrated with a movement of a Tchaikovsky violin concerto, the traditional melodies of Klezmer music influenced classical composers such as Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Bartok, and progressed with the addition of folk music, using motifs from Russian, Gypsy and Jewish sources to influence composers of jazz and other modern styles.

Klezmer, from the Hebrew words meaning instrument and song, is an increasingly popular form of joyful music often heard at Jewish weddings and celebrations.  Visitors from England, US, Israel as well as Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow joined Arranites for this special evening concert which featured mini lectures by Lev on classical music and violins in between the performances of beloved classics as well as Klezmer music.

When asked why there were so many Russian Jewish violinists, Lev explained that in 19th Century Czarist Russia Jews were not permitted to own land and were restricted to working in menial jobs. When the St. Petersburg Conservatory of Music opened in mid-19th Century and opened its doors to Jewish students, almost every Jewish family sent a son to study there as it was an opportunity to have a career in music. While many of the students were mediocre, a significant number excelled and developed international careers as soloists.

The enthusiastic audience was thrilled when local musician Tim Pomeroy added to their enjoyment by singing a few folk songs accompanied by his guitar.  Tim, who in addition to being a world class sculptor has been entertaining locals with his talented musical performances, was in great form as he told us the history of the songs he performed.

All of the participants enjoyed a delicious buffet supper and were informed that another home concert is planned for mid-September with an American pianist who will be visiting Arran.  The Arran branch of the Scottish Council for Jewish Communities (ScoJec), Barb Taub and Sharon Shenhav will be sponsoring the September home concert which will feature Dr Deborah Nemko, pianist and professor of music at Bridgewater State University in the US.  During a recent Fulbright Fellowship in the Netherlands Deborah researched music composed by Jewish musicians who were murdered in concentration camps during WWII.  Deborah will be discussing her discovery of these unpublished manuscripts of music ranging from classical to jazz and will be performing these pieces for us in a concert entitled:  Music in the Time of Anne Frank. It should be another special evening of musical pleasure

BarbTaub and Sharon Shenhav are already making plans for next summer which will include a repeat performance by Lev Atlas as well as a Klezmerceilidh to be held at Whiting Bay Hall. They invite all music lovers as well as dancers to join us for these future events.

For more information or to be added to the mailing list for future concerts and events, contact arran@scojec.com


Lev Atlas performs to the appreciative audience. NO_B30lev01

Some of the audience who enjoyed the show. NO_B30lev02