the last three sunday evenings (9th 16th and 23rd march), 6.45-7.30pm, on bbc radio 3
music and the jews:
1. i’ve heard there was a secret chord
2. there’s a place for us (women)
3. it ain’t necessarily so
“Spanning thousands of years, from King David and the creation of the Psalms, to composers writing today including Steve Reich and Robert Saxton, Norman Lebrecht uncovers a wealth of fascinating stories about the role music has played at some of the key points in Jewish history.”1. “The acclaimed Ladino singer Yasmin Levy explains why music and memory became so intertwined when the Jews were expelled from Spain at the end of the 15th century, rabbi Shlomo Levin tells the amazing story of how a marching tune sung by Napoleon and his troops in 1812 became an integral part of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Jewish people, and the musicologist Gila Flam has some surprising revelations about the music sung by the Jews in the Nazi concentration camps.
With contributions from rabbi Yehoshua Engelman, the composer Steve Reich, Professor Edwin Seroussi from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the musicologist and and founder of the Boston Camerata Joel Cohen, the violinist Eyal Shiloach, rabbi Shlomo Levine, and Dr Gila Flam, Head of the Music Department at the National Library in Jerusalem.”2. “Women, in the Jewish religion, are not meant to sing, and yet Jewish women have shrugged off that inhibition to become some of the most powerful figures in the popular imagination.
We hear from some of the most successful women singing in Israel – and indeed on the world stage – today, including the eighth-generation Yiddish singer Myriam Fuks and Achinoam Nini, the latest in a long line of iconic Jewish women of Yemenite origin. Michael Grade remembers his grandmother’s passion for Sophie Tucker, and the promoter Harvey Goldsmith explains why Jewish women have had such a huge impact on music over the past half century. We also hear from Dr Tova Gamliel about the extraordinarily powerful role of women in the religious practices of Yemen.
With contributions also from Rabbi Shlomo Levin, the Yiddish singer Myriam Fuks, Ladino singers Kohava and Yasmin Levy, and the Yemenite singer Achinoam Nini.”3. “Taking as his starting point the moment at which the Jews were finally able to enter the Western classical music tradition in a professional capacity, in today’s programme Norman Lebrecht investigates the idea of a “Jewish thumbprint” in the music of Mendelssohn and others.
Leading Israeli composer Noam Sheriff and conductor Michael Tilson Thomas talk about why Mahler’s Jewishness speaks so strongly to them through his symphonies, and Michael Grade explains how the Jewish art of being one step ahead impacted so strongly on the entertainment industry in the twentieth century.
With contributions also from the musicologist and founder of the Boston Camerata, Joel Cohen, the writer David Conway, the composers Robert Saxton, and Gideon Lewensohn, and Professor Susan Wollenberg of Oxford University.”