String Quartet

The Milken Archive of American Jewish Music through its series of recordings for Naxos American Classics continues to unearth important yet forgotten music. One of the latest is, to the best of my knowledge, the first ever CD devoted exclusively to the music of Jacob Weinberg (1879-1956), an émigré from the Ukraine who arrived in the U.S. in 1926 after composing one of the earliest operas sung in Hebrew. In America, he continued to create Jewish-themed music, among which is a ravishingly beautiful string quartet whose movements depict three of the most important holy days of the Judiac calendar: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot through variations of traditional liturgical chants sung on those days. In the Yom Kippur movement, the holiest of all Jewish holy days is captured in music that reaches for the heights of the high Baroque albeit with themes Corelli and Rameau would probably not have considered harmonizing.


—FJO