Saturday, February 20, 2010

Giora Feidman

There are only a few musicians who can be identified in the space of a single measure. The clarinetist, Giora Feidman, is one of those few. Feidman has said, "I don't play the clarinet, I sing ... I sing through my instrument." And he sings with a klezmer accent. He is currently touring Europe with the Gershwin Quartet and today's featured video provides a look at Feidman and the Quartet playing Libertango (and a few other tunes) at a recent concert in Berlin. Listen to the music and also listen to the ovation at the end.

Feidman comes to Piazzolla's music "honestly" - he was born in Buenos Aires into a musical family, part of the Jewish diaspora from central Europe. The sound of tango was no doubt unavoidable but he was a classical musician playing at the Teatro Colon by the age of 18. At the age of 21 he immigrated to Israel and became a long standing member of the Israel Philharmonic. He also became a student of klezmer, the music rooted in Eastern European Jewish culture, and eventually left the Philharmonic to devote himself to the spread of klezmer music. He has uniquely combined his Argentine roots and klezmer in two wonderful albums: TangoKlezmer and Feidman Plays Piazzolla. The latter is one of my favorites.

The Gershwin Quartet is a perfect match for Feidman. They are fabulous musicians, all trained in Russia. The Quartet, named after the violinist in the group - not the American composer, plays anything that strikes their fancy - classical, broadway, jazz, latin and, now, klezmer. Feidman and the Quartet have a new recording, Klezmer & Strings - which you can also find in iTunes.

The musicians clearly enjoy Libertango but if you want to really see them have fun with klezmer music, watch their performance of Jewish Wedding. If the video of Libertango does not appear below, click here.

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

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