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Gal, Kaminski, & Bernstein: Violin Concertos

By Erez Ofer

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By Erez Ofer and RSO Berlin. By Joseph Kaminski, Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), and Hans Gal (1890-1987). Classical. Listening CD. Haenssler Classic #HC19020. Published by Haenssler Classic (NX.HC19020).

Item Number: NX.HC19020

Conducted by Frank Beermann; Omer Meir Wellber.

The present programme offers music for solo violin and orchestra by three 20th-century composers who share a common feature in their Jewish origins. Two of them suffered the consequences of Nazi repression in pre-war Germany. Born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the composer, musicologist and music theoretician Hans Gal (1890-1987) was obliged to resign his post as Director of the Mainz Conservatory after the National Socialists came to power in 1933 on account of his Hungarian Jewish ancestry. He returned to Austria but had to leave when Hitler's Germany annexed his homeland in 1938. He went to England and spent the rest of his life there. Joseph Kaminski (1903-1972) was born in Odessa. His parents, who were Jewish actors, then moved to Warsaw with their family. The musically talented boy began playing the violin at six and at the age of 12 he was already playing as a soloist with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra. He moved to Berlin in 1922 and studied at the College of Music there (winning high praise from Berlin music critics), then to Vienna (1924), where he continued his studies with Hans Gal and others. He emigrated to Israel in 1937, where he joined the Palestine Orchestra (renamed the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in 1948) as lead violinist. The third composer on this album, Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), had a very different start in life. The son of Jewish immigrants to the United States, he was born in Massachusetts in 1918. "Lenny" - as the world knew him - rose in the USA and then around the world to be a musical superstar.

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