on 25 February 2001
Itzhak Perlman, possibly the world's top classical violinist, turns his attention to klezmer - the jazzy/folky/Gypsy (and secular) music of East European Jews for most of the first half of this century. The 15 tracks range from vibrant, celebratory songs and dances that are guaranteed to have you singing along, even if you have no idea what the (Yiddish) words are all about, to slow, sad instrumentals that reveal how much thought and emotion lie behind the folk music of a wandering and persecuted people. Perlman joins with four klezmer bands to make this CD and their playing throughout combines accuracy and attention to detail with a deepfelt joy in the music. Perlman makes the violin almost literally sing, the ensemble playing is sharp and accurate and the production gives each instrument equal space, avoiding the danger of this turning into a Perlman-plus-some-others recoding. If you have only heard kelzmer played before by a group of repory amateurs at a friend's son's Bar Mitzvah, treat yourself to this CD. Joyful music, professionally played.