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Kol Nidre Variations

4.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 1, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Pianist Ben Zebelman has attempted something remarkable with Kol Nidre Variations, a disc of piano trio compositions based on the ancient Jewish prayer sung on the eve of Yom Kippur. While Yiddish klezmer music has seen plenty of spinoffs and branches (it can be heard in jazz, classical, and even pop tunes), the haunting melody of the Kol Nidre hasn't been too exploited: Schoenberg used it in an orchestral score, and Beethoven's Op. 131 begins with the Nidre theme. Zebelman's project, however, is much larger. It's entirely focused on the ancient prayer. With its soft focus and mesmerizing piano line, the first movement "The Vow" is a cross between contemporary instrumental music and classical. At five and a half minutes, "Dance of the Spirits" is the shortest but perhaps most interesting movement on the disc. Filled with soulful passages courtesy of the string section, its quick pace is riveting. "Redemption," the work's final movement, is surprising, filled with peppy movements where cellist Maureen McDermott is able to show her skills. Does it work? Yes. The simple, centuries-old chant--transformed here into chamber music in four pieces--ends up sounding fresh and (thankfully) still powerful as an instrumental work. In all, it's 39 minutes of moving, serene, and soulful music. --Jason Verlinde

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. The Vow
  2. Voices of the Heart
  3. Dance of the Spirit
  4. Redemption


Product Details

  • Performer: Ben Zebelman
  • Composer: Ben Zebelman
  • Audio CD (September 1, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Madacy Records
  • ASIN: B00001IV8K
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #305,888 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I wasn't certain what to expect from a variation on Kol Nidre by a Zebelman, a McDermott, and a Chang. What I got exceeded any expectation. The music is beautiful in its own right, creating tremendous complexity with a very simple combination of instruments, but it also manages to capture the introspection of the High Holy Days in a way that is very touching and timeless. We used a selection of this recording as a meditation at our Kol Nidre service this year. I am hoping that Mr. Zebelman will be encouraged by this acheivement to create more works of this kind. Somehow, his compositions bring clarity to the uncertain nature of modern Judaism. I don't know what he might make out of "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel" but I would love to hear it.
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Format: Audio CD
This piece is an absolute must for anyone with any interest in modern Jewish music. If you have no interest in Jewish music, it stands on its own as a brilliantly interpretative rendition of a great classical work. The haunting melody remains; added is a gentle Klezmer touch.
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By A Customer on April 15, 2002
Format: Audio CD
This is hands down the most beautiful piece of music I have felt in a very long time. It takes me through a variety of emotions as I listen to it. I would highly recommend it.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
If you buy this CD/MP3 you will not regret it.

calming, peaceful and has 4 great pieces that seem to carry you away from away! It actually makes you feel as though you are there...wherever there is. If it makes any sense.
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Format: Audio CD
I waited what seemed like a long time to receive this after it came out and was not a bit disappointed. Beautifully done...talented new composer and equally talented musicians...this music speaks to the soul.
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