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Keeping the Classy in Classical – 2 Reviews

Eternal Echoes

Eternal Echoes -
Yitzchak Perlman and Yitzchak Meir Helfgot:

While everyone has probably already picked up their copy of this album after the triumphant concert at the Barclays Center a few months ago, let’s take a quick look at this beautiful album once again.

When you have two giants such as these team up, you know what the result is going to be. And the album is as good as advertised, starting with a heavenly rendition of R’ Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev’s Dudeleh. Helfgot seems to save his best for the other Yiddish tune, Shofar Shel Moshiach. No album of this stature would be complete without a Kol Nidrei, and once again, the two virtuosos dial it up as well as can be expected. The only critique I had was their arrangement of R’ Benzion Shenker’s classic Mizmor LeDovid – I felt that the high part should have used more emotional power, as opposed to the delicate and sensitive approach.

In all, Eternal Echoes combines timeless tunes with stunning vocal and string virtuosity, while keeping to their emotional and spiritual roots.


Ahavat Olamim -
Rav Haim Louk and Omer Avital’s New Jerusalem Orchestra Live:

Sometimes, you hear an album and you run out of superlatives. (That’s certainly better than running out of expletives!) But this is just one of those stellar albums that has it all. Rav Louk, in case you did not know, is the venerable scion to the eminent Moroccan dynasty of Paitanim. His voice and control are impeccable. For this unique project, he was lined up with brilliant Israeli jazz bassist Omer Avital, who created the New Jerusalem Orchestra – an amalgamation of classical instrumentation alongside middle eastern exotic sounds and the emotion and energy of jazz soloists. They took Sefardi zemirot, and slowly weave between Louk’s indefatigable energy and the solos of Daniel Zamir (soprano sax), Itamar Boruchov (trumpet) and guest Greg Tardy (sax), alongside many others, for a live performance that is simply unsurpassed in skill.

The double album has particular highlights, some of which you can see on Rav Louk’s website (, and others here – the festive Yaalah Yaalah, with a brilliant solo at the end by trumpeter Boruchov:

And the incredible Tzur Shehechiyani:

Watch them both, all the way through, with the best sound system you can whip up. I dare you to watch those clips and not run out to find a copy of the album! And believe it or not, there’s much more listening gold on the full double album than you can imagine.

This is not an easily available CD, but I’ve seen it on Amazon. Boy, is it a worthwhile acquisition!

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