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Rejoice' - a Celebration of Eastern European Jewish Music with Itzhak Perlman & Cantor Y. M. Helfgot / Perlman, Helfgot; Klezmer Conservatory Band; Rejoice CO; Ger [DVD]

Notes & Reviews:

This DVD celebrates the extraordinary artistic world of Eastern European Jewish music, or, in the words of Itzhak Perlman, "chicken soup for the soul". The legendary violinist, along with renowned cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot, join forces for a musical exploration of liturgical and traditional works in new arrangements for both chamber orchestra and klezmer settings. In 'Rejoice with Itzhak Perlman and Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot' these two incomparable virtuosos unite for an evening of cantorial masterpieces, Yiddish folk and theater tunes, Hassidic melodies and klezmer instrumentals. The program's director, Joshua Waletzky, won a 1995 Primetime Emmy for an earlier collaboration with Mr. Perlman, 'In the Fiddler's House'. The bonus material features interviews with both Mr. Perlman and Cantor Helfgot.


Unbelievable (as expected!) performances from Mr. Perlman and Mr. Helfgot
This DVD consists primarily of a performance by Itzhak Perlman, the Klezmer Conservatory Band, and Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot (he’s *amazing*), interspersed with interviews featuring the delightful Joel Grey, Neil Sedaka, and Elie Wiesel. This performance is a combination of Yiddish folk and theater tunes, Hassidic melodies, and virtuoso klezmer melodies – all of which are right up this listener’s alley.

There are not enough superlatives to describe the emotional aspects of Mr. Perlman and Mr. Helfgot’s performances, but suffice it to say that they are having an insane amount of fun making this music, and the joy is infectious. It is also clear that the members of the Klezhmer Conservatory Band are enjoying themselves immensely (pay particular attention to the Clarinet – it sings!), and they bring not only a sense of history but of sheer human feelings to the music being presented. This is particularly evident in “Yism’Khu” as well as “Adir Hu/Moyshe Emes”.

The segments with Joel Grey and Neil Sedaka are most enjoyable, not only because it is a treat to see them, but because they are obviously joined together at a very fundamental level by the music and emotions evoked by what is being performed and brought to life. Cantor Helfgot and Mr. Perlman are an amazing pair to behold, each feeding off of the energy of the other. This is a fine example of people at the top of their game excelling at the highest level, each inspiring and pushing the other to achieve the most that they possibly can – it’s astonishing and wonderful, and it makes this listener envious of the experience that each audience member had that was physically present.
The liner notes, while brief, are informative and do provide the English translation of the Yiddish vocals. This is music for the heart, spirit, and intellect, and it is a delight to experience when presented by these insanely talented musicians. Very highly recommended!

Submitted on 10/07/15 by KlingonOpera 
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