Prelude, Fugue & Riffs

A Jewish Legacy

As part of the city-wide Bernstein celebration this fall, the Jewish Museum will present a concert of mostly unknown works on Jewish themes that will shed new light on some of Bernstein's more celebrated pieces. The program includes the world premiere of A Choral Quilt, arranged by Jack Gottlieb, conjoining a message of comfort, home and family found in six Bernstein theater works. Other rarities to be heard are songs the composer wrote as a teenager as well as the first performance of a later song written in reaction to anti-Semitism. An ensemble number cut from West Side Story, lyrics by Sondheim, will be heard for the first time in New York. This, combined with another ensemble piece from an aborted musical project with lyrics by Comden and Green, will be revealed, in a surprising transformation, as a beloved Bernstein choral setting in Hebrew.

The celebrated performing artists are mezzo-soprano Janice Meyerson; baritones Robert Abelson and Richard Holmes; soprano Heather Buck; tenor Michael Steinberger and a boy soprano to be announced. The piano duo of Eric Birk and Bernadette Hoke will be featured both as soloists and as accompanists.

Conductor Johannes Somary will direct the Amor Artis Chamber Choir in Bernstein's setting of a text from synagogue liturgy; a popular tune of Israeli pioneer days; and a joyful theater piece about the ancient Hebrews delivered from bondage, among other choral works.

The concert will be illuminated by projections of still photographs and footage from the composer's personal and professional life, with a talk narrated by composer Gottlieb, Bernstein's longtime editor. The concert will take place, October 23, 2008 at 8 PM.

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