Alex Jacobowitz: Der klassischer Klezmer Alex Jacobowitz: Der klassischer Klezmer
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Jerusalem Post (Feb 16, 1993)
Children, marches and marimbas - concert roundup

Ury Eppstein

An off-the-beaten-track opportunity for listening to the marimba, a xylophone of African origin with resonators under each bar, was provided at Ticho House by Alex Jacobowitcz, a newcomer from the US.

The instrument is usually placed in the context of jazz or ethnic music. Jacobowitcz uses it for the classical repertoire, from Back to Albeniz in keyboard fashion rather than in the manner of a percussion instrument.

Works written originally for the marimba were by contemporary American composers - Mitchell Peters, Gordon Stout and Alfred Fissinger. The latterīs Mist, in particular, attempts to feature not the percussive quality of the instrument but its capacitz for producing an impressionist, nebulous sound. Stoutīs Mexican Dances, on the other hand, indulge in aggressive, unpredictable rhythms.

The classical works were played in accurate transcriptions ofthe original scores. The polyphonic texture of a Bach fugue (G minor) and Bachīs Goldberg Variations were transmitted with amazing transparency and surprisingly delicate nuances of dynamics
and tone colors.

A fine technical command of the instrument was displayed in Scarlattiīs Harpsichord Sonatas in A major and A monor. In the harmonic configurations of a Piano sonata (G major) by Beethoven, the player seemed less at ease than with the contrapuntal intricacies of Bach.

The instrumentīs refined sound qualities, and its sonorites that are rather different from the accustomed ones, proved to be its main fascination and the raison d'ętre of the transcriptions from the original versions.

Ticho House, Jerusalem, February 12.