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Nigunim: Hebrew Melodies

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Customer Reviews

Oh yeah!!! The Shaham’s are in the house!!!!!

Okay – I have to admit it – I’d walk a mile in the snow to hear Gil Shaham play violin. Here we have 10 works of Jewish music, played by Mr. Shaham (violin) and his sister Orli (piano). There is a tradition of music in the Jewish culture, and it is rich and warm and sad and so very, very human. And when performed by musicians of this caliber, it is difficult to listen to without focusing on it. Binime’s “Danse Hebraique” is full of energy and vigor, and Achron’s “Hebrew Melody, Op. 33” is filled with virtuosic elements that this pair gives us seemingly effortlessly. This is a truly great piece of music. Dorman’s four movement “Nigunim” is a very difficult to play but very soulful work (although the 2nd movement certainly has “teaching” elements – if you’re a virtuoso!), filled with determination and pathos, pride, and a sense of both unease and resolve. “2 Hebrew Pieces, Op. 35” from Achron are evocative (No. 2, “Lullaby”) and patiently energetic and driven (No. 1, “Dance”, which contains quite a virtuoso passage up and down the violin about mid-way through the piece). What follows are three works by John Williams from the score to “Schindler’s List”, and these are precisely and wonderfully played. Next is Leo Zeitlin’s “Eli Zion”, a very powerful and expressive work originally written for cello and piano, but transcribed for violin and piano by Achron. I had never heard this transcription before, and it is marvelous! Closing the CD is Ernest Bloch’s “Baal Shem” (subtitled “Three Pieces for Chassidic Life”), the first movement aptly titled “Contrition” is stoic and contrite, the second movement (“Nigun”, meaning melody) is strong and powerful, with the last movement (“Simchas Torah”) filled with joyful and personal feeling celebratory music.

The recording quality is excellent, and this recording will be spending a lot of time in my CD player. Both of the Shaham siblings do a fantastic job, the result being a recording to be enjoyed again and again. Highly recommended.


Born: February 19, 1971 in Champaign-Urbana, IL

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Gil Shaham emerged in the 1990s as one of the most exciting new young violinists. Although born in the United States, Shaham emigrated with his parents to Israel. He began studying violin with Samuel Bernstein at the Ruben Academy of Music at age seven. Almost immediately he received a scholarship from the American Israel Cultural Foundation, which was renewed annually He made his debuts with the Jerusalem Symphony and the Israel Philharmonic in 1981. The next year he took first prize in Israel¹s...
Full Bio

Top Albums and Songs by Gil Shaham

Nigunim: Hebrew Melodies, Gil Shaham
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Classical, Music
  • Released: Apr 15, 2013

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