Alex Jacobowitz: Der klassischer Klezmer Alex Jacobowitz: Der klassischer Klezmer
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Art of Xylos CD Review Percussive Arts Society (Feb 1, 2002)

The Art of Xylos - Alex Jacobowitz

Arte Nova Musikproduktions GmbH

Alex Jacobowitz tours the world pursuing a career in a
field he once was told didn’t even exist—that of a
xylophone soloist. (“Xylophone” on this album refers
to the family of instruments that includes the marimba.
In fact, in the music heard on this CD, Jacobowitz uses
the full range of a five-octave marimba to good advantage.)

The 14 tracks on this disc contain music from the baroque,
classical, romantic, impressionist and contemporary periods,
although only one track is devoted to music written specifically
for the marimba — Paul Smadbeck’s “Rhythm Song.” Most of
the other 13 tracks contain literature from the orchestral and
keyboard repertoires that has great appeal amongst the
concert-going public. Included are the “Dance of the Miller”
from “The Three-Cornered Hat” by Manuel de Falla; “Samuel
Goldenberg and Shmuyle” and “The Old Castle” from “Pictures
at an Exhibition” by Mussorgsky; J. S. Bach’s “Chromatic
Fantasy” and the “Chaconne in D Minor” from “Partita No. 2”;
Couperin’s “Les Baricades Misterieuses”; Debussy’s “La fille aux
cheveux de lin”; Satie’s “Gymnopedie No. 1”; the “Adagio
sostenuto” from Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”; Mozart’s
“Fantasia in D Minor”; Schumann’s “Träumerei” from
“Kinderszenen”; a traditional Jewish song “Firn di Mechatonim
Aheim”; and, from the guitar repertoire, Francisco Tarrega’s
“Recuerdos de la Alhambra.”

Mallet percussionists will readily appreciate Jacobowitz’s ability
to control the subtle nuances of touch and movement that
contribute to the phrasing and direction of the musical line, so
admirably displayed in his inspired performance of Bach’s

At his best, Jacobowitz plays with an enthusiasm and conviction
that can make the listener believe that this music was intended
for the marimba all along. Perhaps that is in part attributable to
a sixth sense that gives him the insight to choose music for
performance that proves particularly amenable to the unique
qualities of his instrument and that stimulates his musical
imagination to the fullest. And that imagination is capable of
turning out performances that can reveal an emotional energy
in the musical score, unimpeded by any of the technical
limitations imposed by his wooden-keyed instrument. One can
only hope that on his next record Jacobowitz will include more
of the excellent contemporary literature that has been composed
specifically for the marimba.

— John R. Raush
Percussive Arts Society Review