The Kennedy Center

Pro Musica Hebraica presents: Piety and Passion: The Musical Legacy of Jewish Spain

Pro Musica Hebraica presents: Piety and Passion: The Musical Legacy of Jewish Spain

Monday, November 23, 2015 7:00 PM

Pro Musica Hebraica presents a concert of Sephardic and Spanish Jewish music with audience favorites the Amernet String Quartet and friends mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway and guitarist Adam Levin.

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Pro Musica Hebraica presents
Amernet String Quartet
With Rachel Calloway, mezzo-soprano & Adam Levin, guitar

Piety and Passion: The Musical Legacy of Jewish Spain

There is an old Spanish proverb, "He who thinks too much will never reach Jerusalem." For centuries the Jews of medieval Spain lived this truth. Even as they revived biblical Hebrew and carved new paths in Jewish philosophy and religious mysticism, their piety mixed easily with a profound worldiness. Their famous rabbis were also doctors, warriors, poets, and lovers. This blend of sacred and profane, mystical prayer and earthly desire, suffuses Sephardic folk music.

In the first-ever exploration of this unique legacy, Pro Musica Hebraica presents a concert of Sephardic and Spanish Jewish music. Audience favorites the Amernet String Quartet, Ensemble-in-Residence at Florida International University, return with friends, mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway and guitarist Adam Levin, to explore medieval Sephardic ballads and modern masterpieces by composers Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Joaquín Rodrigo, Carlos Cruz de Castro, and Alberto Hemsi.

The concert features a number of works by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895–1968), the Italian Jewish composer whose family fled Spain in 1492, including the famous Guitar Quintet, his Second String Quartet, and songs from his The Divan of Moses Ibn-Ezra Suite. The legacy of Sephardic song is highlighted in the world premiere of acclaimed composer Ljova's (b. 1978) re-envisioning of the classic Ladino art songs of Alberto Hemsi (1898–1975) for voice and string quartet and Joaquín Rodrigo's (1901–1999) Cuatro canciones sefardíes, paying homage both to his native Spain and his wife's Sephardic heritage, in a new voice and guitar arrangement--together with the lively Secuencia Sefardita for solo guitar by contemporary Spanish composer Carlos Cruz de Castro (b. 1941).

Performance Timing: Part One - 45 min.; Intermission - 15 min.; Part Two - 45 min.

Program & Notes

Composer
Piece
Joaquin Rodrigo
Cuatro canciones sefardíes (1965)
arr. for voice and guitar by Nestor
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
Selections from The Divan of Moses Ibn-Ezra (1966)
arr. for voice, guitar, and string quartet by Cohen
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
Traditional
Blanca Niña (2015)
arr. Hemsi & Ljova for voice and string quartet (World Premiere)