Review from : Cinefonia. Paris 7 2004
Critic: Pierre Giraud
Paul Ben Haim (1897 – 1984) a German composer of Jewish origin. His original name: Paul Frankenburger, a son to a distinguished family from Munich.
Under the watchful eye of his mother, young Paul devoted his early years to study the violin and later on to his real love: the piano. He graduated at the music academy of Munich (piano, conducting and composition). He adored the music of Richard Strauss and also French music by Debussy and Ravel.
He composed his first lieds at the age of 15 years, as the literary source provides him with an inspiration drawn from poets such as: Hugo Von Hofmansthal, Christian Morgenstern and Hans Bethge.
He was the assistant for the famous conductor, Bruno Walter, and later on the musical director in the Augsburg opera, as this position became later under the supervision of the Third Reich's Ministry of Culture. He resigned and fled from Germany to Palestine. He resided in Tel Aviv and changed his name to Ben Haim. He started to write lieds to Hebrew poetry and joined the creation of the Israeli culture in Israel. He worked with the texts of poets, such as Yehuda Halevi, Bialik, Rachel Blubstein and Yehuda Karni, however, he maintained the connection with his roots and origin. The result is most surprising.
As a person takes new roads in a new homeland – melodies become more nostalgic.
The soprano, Varda Kotler, has a sensual voice moving lightly, sometimes even quietly, performing qualitatively in the same fashion with the German lied as in the Hebrew lied. We experience a musical journey close to the east, marked with a stamp of royalty and honor.
The works of Paul Ben Haim calls for a dialogue and attentiveness between people. This is a cultural artistic journey between cultures.
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