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Min i at u re s & F o l k l o re
23 challenges for cello and piano
Searching for an ideal command of this music is a demanding and
surprisingly delicate task. One must strike a balance between sensitivity and
restraint, between immediacy and structure, between being an orator yet telling a very intimate story, “speaking” a song or “singing” words … and the
music is always so brief … !
I wished for this recording to become a direct informal provocation to preserve
the spirit of the soloist Miniature; a performing style which developed and
found its short-lived peak in the period between the end of the 19th century
and World War II; a style as rich and refined as any other major movement in
he history of musical interpretationt; a style which gently invites each one of
us, players and audience, to further explore and develop its virtues.
Having been born into a Russian family and growing up within an Israeli immigrant community, I was exposed to many ethnic idioms, absorbing from my
multicultural musical surroundings. Thus, I found myself trying to unite these
short compositions with the foreign musical dialects from which they emerged.
Imitating the plain tonal flair of a folk instrument, a wild laugh, a lonely prayer,
peaceful whistling, a barefoot dance and even the braying of a French donkey,
served as a compass for me, to show the way to create this compilation of
colorful musical sketches for the cello.
An old art genre and performing
style, where a common cultural
standard is reduced (/compressed )
into an easily understood compact
imitative form.
The natural origin of art itself.
In music, the global “aural village”
most composers referred to
when they wanted to write music
of humanity.
My hope is that listening to this selection of short pieces and to the playful
dialog between them will add a new spiritual dimension to a lost tradition of
our instrumental grammar; a grammar which is still an essential part of the
unwritten mythology of virtuoso and classic-improvisatory playing.
Gavriel Lipkind
Lau r a nc e L e s s e r
President Emeritus, New England Conservatory
Cello & Chamber Music Faculty
[…] Rather than go through the pieces one-by-one, let me tell you
why I think this recording is such an important endeavor.
I grew up in a musical family in Los Angeles, the grandchild of eastern
European Jewish immigrants. In my mother’s youth (she was a conservatorytrained pianist), one went to hear all the visiting artists and in-between w
collected their 78 rpm recordings. Classical music was everywhere. Hollywood
and the Holocaust had combined to give my community countless musical
riches and the paradise climate had attracted major artists to the area as well.
The names of Igor Stravinsky, Arnold Schoenberg, Arthur Rubinstein, Jascha
Heifetz, Gregor Piatigorsky, Thomas Mann only begin the list.
The first solo recital concerts I remember hearing always had a “heavy” first
half and after intermission a collection of shorter pieces. These latter wer
the ones I knew from my mother’s 78’s and we always looked forward to that
part of the program because it was there that the artist truly revealed himself.
Heifetz’s Brahms Concerto at the Hollywood Bowl was wonderful, but when
as an encore he played a Hungarian Dance by the same composer, we smiled,
relaxed and reveled in his special way with this kind of music.
But at the same time a quiet revolution was taking place in programming.
Great artists like Schnabel attracted audiences for all Beethoven sonata programs. “Serious” music became the order of the day. To be sure, we studied
and learned all the little pieces as instrumentalists and maybe we would play
one as an encore, but gradually the ability to play short works languished.
What is so special about playing little pieces? I guess it’s like the
differenc between big novels and short stories. You have only a few minutes to
reveal a character or a mood or a world. It’s not one bit easier than the big piece.
In fact, in a way, it’s even harder. One false move and the mood is gone.
Now, here we are in the 21st century. Everyone talks about “sound bites,” and
“15 minutes of fame.” Everyone talks about the graying of the classical music
audience. Everyone talks about diversity and the many cultures of the world.
What is the answer? I think you have found part of it. We can restore th
sense of wonder of listeners by bringing them quickly into our special world.
In their day Fritz Kreisler, Casals, Piatigorsky, Heifetz and countless others
arranged short works of interesting character and presented them in a way
that was compelling and attractive. You have chosen pieces from many countries which express much about their people; you have fashioned them so th
story gets told well. You bring a warm smile to the listener or astonishment
that a clumsy old instrument like the cello can be maneuvered with lightning
dexterity. […]
p r of. Dr . P e t e r Ca h n
Hochschule für Musik und Darellende Kunst
Frankfurt am Main
The twenty-three miniatures on this compact disk have been chosen
with a particular concept in mind. They comprise short, relatively unknown
pieces which all contain clear elements of folk music.
It would be interesting to examine the nature of the connection between the Miniature – either as a generalized art form or, more specifically, as
a musical one – and folk music. Perhaps a definition of the nature and history
of the Miniature will help us to answer this question.
When considering the Miniature, we tend to think in terms of painting rather
than music. The origins of the form lie in the book illustrations of the middle
Ages. Every important element of these ancient manuscripts – the first letter,
titles, decorations, significant sections of the text – was usually rendered in a
red ink made from red lead (Latin: minium). From the Latin word miniatus (the
color red) evolved the word miniature. The Miniatures, when defined in this
narrower sense of painting, evoke the multi-hued, beautifully decorated initials
and text illustrations of the ancient medieval manuscripts and, in particular,
the tiny paintings that abound therein. These illustrations, especially the miniature paintings, proved to be a highly significant branch of pictorial art. One
characteristic, particularly during the Crusader era, is their ornamentation in
which the influence of Byzantine and Arabic motives is instantly recognizable.
The ornate ornamentation of oriental art served as a fertile source of inspiration for miniature painters the world over.
Within the various compositions Gavriel Lipkind has selected for this
recording, a parallel appropriation of folk music elements can be observed in
the melodies, rhythms and virtuosic ornamental figures that characterize their
short “miniature” compositions. Tcherepnin’s Tartar Danc and Glazunov’s
Arabic Melody show the domination of Slav and oriental folk influences that
was particularly evident in the works of Russian composers. It is, nonetheless,
questionable as to whether an Arab musician would be able to identify genuine
Arabian characteristics in Glazunov’s composition. In Tsintsadze’s Chonguri,
however, there is no doubt that any Georgian musician would immediately
recognize his successful imitation of the Chonguri, the 3½-stringed lute so
popular in Georgia.
The aforementioned compositions clearly demonstrate the two different approaches to the use of musical folk resources. The romantic composers
had only a very vague idea of the true characteristics of Arabian music with
the result that they gave their fantasy free rein. They succeeded, often highly
effectively, in conveying the strange and exotic; for instance, Tchaikowsky, in
the Arabian Danc from the Nutcracker Suit, uses chromatics and the interval
of the augmented second to such effect that a totally convincingly oriental
atmosphere is created while bearing very little resemblance to authentic Arabian
music and irrespective of the inclusion of the “real” or imaginary aspects of
folk music. In similar manner, the nineteenth century composers tended to
equate “Gypsy” music with Hungarian music, Brahms’s Hungarian Dances being a perfect example of this. For a more rigorously orthodox application of
folk music we must advance to the beginning of the twentieth century to the
scientific work of Bartók who searched for the true sources of Hungarian folk
music and discovered them in the ancient modal songs of the Hungarian peasants. For decades, he systematically recorded these songs on his phonograph,
studying and publishing them and incorporating their characteristic rhythmic
and melodic elements into his compositions until they became an integral part
of his musical creativity.
Among original compositions for cello solo, Gaspar Cassadó’s Intermezzo e
Danza Finale is masterly example of the fusion of virtuosity and Spanish folk
music. The piece shows the clear stylistic influence of Manuel de Falla with
whom Cassadó was personally acquainted. The first theme, in 5/4 rhythm, is
reminiscent of an original Spanish folk tune, La Folia, which was also adapted
by many other composers, notably Corelli, Brahms and Rachmaninov. Paul
Ben-Haim dedicated his three-movement Music for Violoncello, composed in
1984, to Gavriel Lipkind’s teacher, Uzi Wiesel. Lipkind here plays the central
piece which is in the form of a modernized, mildly Spanish-flavored Gigue with
its 6/8 rhythms and inversion of the theme in the second half
Scriabin’s meditative Romanc composed in 1890, creates an effective contrast between the simplicity of the cello melody and the complexity of
the piano accompaniment. The harmonies of the piece anticipate the “mystical
chord” which was to become so much a part of the composer’s later work.
Moritz Moszkowski, of Polish origin, was born in Breslau. Most wellknown for his famous Spanish Dances, his attempt to represent Spanish music
in Guitarre is only partially successfull (compare, for example, Cassadó’s Furious
Danza). Both in color and sensibility, the piece does not succeed in freeing
itself from the somewhat Slavic consciousness.
Charm and particularly French esprit characterize the music of
Jaques Ibert whose Le Petit Âne Blanc (The Littl White Donkey) is accompanied by the untiring to-ing and fro-ing of the folk-like melody in its bass, a
melody that seems tantalizingly familiar despite not being original. Integrated
perfectly into the music, the capricious moods of the donkey appear fitfully,
softly at first, then more assertively as we are made aware of the animal’s
contentment, its ennui, its irritability.
The three pieces in this collection that were originally composed for violin
all contain elements of folk music. The great violinist Fritz Kreisler composed
charming miniatures; Tambourin Chinois (Chinese Tambourine), composed in
191o, is based on the pentatonic scale. For years, Hora Staccato by the Romanian composer Grigoraş Dinicu was a staple concert encore, a favorite of the
great violin virtuosi; during the course of the piece, its Romanian folk coloring becomes increasingly vivid with an abundance of augmented seconds and
scale figurations built on the minor seventh.
The Scherzo-Tarantell of 1835 by Lublin-born Henryk Wieniawski is a typical
work of breathtaking virtuosity that incorporates Polish folk themes.
There are four pieces on this recording written by composers who
were themselves great cellists; Domenico Gabrielli, Jean-Louis Duport and Alfredo Piatti are presented respectively by a Ricercar, Capric, and Etud, each
of which is a testament to these composer’s lasting influence on the history of
cello-playing. In the virtuosic Elfentanz (Danc of the Elves) by the out-standing
Czech cellist David Popper, the influence of Mendelssohn is clearly evident.
Mendelssohn’s innate lyricism is nowhere more apparent than in the
late Lieder Ohne Wort (Songs Without Words) which were published after his
death. The transcription on this recording is of the first Lied from op. 102 in
E-minor, that magical, evocative key with which Mendelssohn so wonderfully
conjured up both the elfin world of the Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream
and the passion of the violin concerto. In this particular piece, an elegiac tone
prevails, the opening melody intoning speechless phrases of lamentation.
Also unspoken, is the text of Ernest Bloch’s T’fila (Prayer) taken from his cycle From Jewish Lif composed in 1942. Here, not only is the singer clearly
invoked, but also the sense of the unexpressed words; the song of the Hazan,
the synagogue cantor, is characteristically embellished and, to emphasize the
synagogual style, Bloch includes several passages liberally sprinkled with the
interval of the augmented second. The expressive power of this piece lies in
its insistent repetition of important melodic phrases, also a characteristic of
cantorial music.
In 1897, for the examination in sight-reading at the Paris Conservatory, Gabriel Fauré composed the Allegro Moderato for two celli (both parts
here performed by Gavriel Lipkind). The nobility of Fauré’s music is apparent in
every note of this rarely-performed veritable Miniature (the piece consists of
mere 23 measures) which is the smallest of the Miniatures in this collection.
gav r i el l i p k i n d
“ … an intriguing and dynamic musician on stage … a person of great
creativity and thought, intellectual involvement and kindness …”
Born in 1977 in Israel, he enjoyed a stellar rise to fame as a child prodigy
and appeared in some of the world’s most prestigious venues with orchestras
such as the Israel Philharmonic, the Munich Philharmonic and the Baltimore
Symphony, working alongside many celebrated conductors including Zubin
Mehta, Philippe Entremont and Giuseppe Sinopoli.
Having graduated from three major academies on three continents
and having won more than twelve top prizes in major competitions, Lipkind
found himself at the pinnacle of his youthful achievements. The Frankfurter
Allgemeine Zeitung wrote of him: “A new star ascends the cello sky … The
young Israeli cellist is one of the major musicians to have entered the music scene
in recent years …”
“… Lipkind is a total
one-off … he plays as if
possessed … This was
edge-of-the seat, white
knuckle playing …”
The Independent
(five stars review)
Assured of his success as a musician, Lipkind decided to take a sabbatical to
focus wholly on other areas of his musicianship – to expand his repertoire, liaise with composers and make recordings of the highest quality. He continued
studying music as a piano and chamber-music major while devoting most of
his time to the study of music production, music theory, expanding his repertoire, arranging and composing.
At this pivotal point Lipkind produced two contrasting recordings:
Miniatures & Folklore, featuring his own arrangements and Single Voice Polyphony I, showcasing the Bach Cello Suites. These two projects represent very
different, yet equally important facets of Lipkind’s musical creativity – his own
compositional voice, coupled with a deep knowledge of the cello – and both
show him moving from strength to strength as a musician.
It is a particular feature of Lipkind’s own committed brand of musicality that
he aims to make a real difference with the cello; to consciously choose the
way and context in which his work is presented, thinking through every detail
of a given production or performance, thereby inviting his audience to look for a
meditative, holistic, highly attentive observation of their world.
Gavriel Lipkind plays a unique Italian cello labeled (erroneously) “Aloysius Michael
Garani (Bologna, 1702)”. It is estimated, to have been completed in the years
1670-1680; An enigma which has come to be known as “The Zihrhonheimer Cello”.
I am most thankful to my closest friend, the soprano coloratura Alexandra
Lubchansky, for taking a “step back” to sit again at the piano (possibly for the last
time!), in memory of th good old days we spent playing duos together … Working on this recording has thus been a truly celebratory experienc for both of us.
Gavriel Lipkind
Gavriel’s biography above
has been written in 2006
and was left unchanged
since to reflect the reality
at the time of producing
this recording
alex a n d r a l u b c h a n s k y
Piano / Soprano
Born in Russia, Alexandra Lubchansky completed “with excellence” her
piano and composition studies at the St. Petersburg Rimsky Korsakov Colleg of
Music. At the age of 17 Alexandra immigrated to Israel on her own and continued
her piano studies receiving yearly a full scholarship and award from the American
Israel Cultural Foundation. A daad full scholarship enabled her to come to
Frequent concerts and chamber music collaborations as well as the first prize
at the Rubinstein Contest in Paris followed.
While still in Germany, Lubchansky decided to begin singing professionally. Acceptance to the class of Prof. Roland Hermann in Karlsruhe marked
the start of her official education as a singer. Very soon after starting her stud-
ies Lubchansky was invited to sing the high soprano in “Die Eroberung von
Mexiko” by Wolfgang Rihm and the part of Angelina in “La Cenerentola”. Her
first contract at the Stadttheater Hildesheim followed.
Shortly after hearing Alexandra’s remarkable voice, Valery Gergiev
invited her to sing the role of Zerbinetta (“Ariadne auf Naxos”) at the Marijinsky
Theatr in St. Petersburg. From that point on, Lubchansky toured Europe with
numerous renowned conductors, performing as a guest star in major theatres
including Oper Frankfurt, Bayerisch Staatsoper Munich, Marijinsky Theatre
St. Petersburg, Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, Staatsoper Berlin, La Monnai
Recent solo performances brought her in contact with the Deutsches Symphonieorchester Berlin, Bayerisch Rundfunk, Nordwestdeutsch Philharmonie,
Slovak Radio Orchestra, Österreichisches Ensembl für Neu Musik, and Ensembl
Aventur Freiburg, performing baroque, classical, and modern repertoire.
Alexandra Lubchansky was awarded the European Cultural Award of Pro Europa
– European Foundation for Culture. www.alexandra-lubchansky.com
Ms. Lubchansky’s
biography above has been
written in 2006 and was
left unchanged to reflect
the reality at the time of
producing the recording
„Personal, Conscious, Evolving ...“
Objects of Desire
Lipkind Productions is a conceptually driven recording label and
production company founded by cellist Gavriel Lipkind and dedicated to one
of the most fundamental building blocks of human experience: The process of
grasping, capturing and communicating an abstract idea.
An holistic yet detailed, scientifically valid and always dynamically
evolving approach to communicating these musical ideas puts this label in a
niche of its own. A thorough programmatic research, the derived interpretative vision, the performances, recording and editing process, mastering and
design, all claim the same artistic initiative and therefore can happen as a single process. Meaningfully packaged and distributed sound, text, sheet-music,
graphic and video content of Mr. Lipkind’s artistic output are the result.
If I were asked to describe
in three words the ideal
performance, I might have
answered: personal,
conscious, evolving …
Gavriel Lipkind
Reflecting on the ultimate potential of a recording process:
“An idea, by it’s very nature, cannot be communicated without losing some of its
original quality. In a studio recording, where the eventual listener is not part of a
resonating space; the musical idea is put into sound in an isolated environment
where the performer is alone with the instrument and microphones. To quote
Glenn Gould, “Recording is a one-to-zero relationship”. A recording production
is therefore a unique opportunity for a performer to document his ideas about a
given composition in their purest form.” Gavriel Lipkind
Lipkind Productions have been described in the press as “Objects of
Desire” and its products as “Total Works of Art”.
1 Moritz Moszkowski (1854-1925) Guitarre op. 45 / 2 arr. Lipkind
2Henryk Wieniawski (1835-1880) Scherzo-Tarantella op. 16 arr. Lipkind
3Isaac Albeniz (1860-1909) Tango arr. Kreisler/Lipkind
4 Grigoraş Dinicu (1889-1949) Hora Staccato arr. Heifetz/Lipkind
5 Domenico Gabrielli (1651-1690) Ricercare no.5* arr. Lipkind
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Alexander Tcherepnin (1899-1977) Tartar Dance op. 84 / 2 arr. Lipkind
Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) Waltz from “Music for Children“ op. 65 arr. Wiesel
Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936) Arabic Melody arr. Lipkind
Paul Ben-Haim (1897-1984) Lively from “Music for Violoncello“* orig. score
Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915) Romance arr. Lipkind
Joachim Stutschewsky (1891-1982) Oriental Dance arr. Lipkind
Sulkhan Tsintsadze (1925-1992) Chonguri* arr. Lipkind
Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) Song Without Words no. 43 arr. Lipkind
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14 David Popper (1843-1913) Dance of the Elves op. 39 orig. score
15 Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) Allegretto Moderato** orig. score
16 Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikowsky (1840-1893) Lullaby arr. Lipkind
17 Jean-Louis Duport (1749-1819) Etude no. 7* arr. Lipkind
18 Jacques Ibert (189o-1966 ) The White Little Donkey arr. v. Wienhardt
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.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
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19 Gaspar Cassadó (1897-1966 ) Intermezzo E Danza Finale* arr. Lipkind
20 Ernest Bloch (1885-1977) Prayer from “From Jewish Life“ op. 1 orig. score
21 Alfredo Piatti (1822-1901) Caprice no. 5* orig. score
22 Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) Hungarian Dance no. 1 arr. v. Wienhardt / Lipkind
23 Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962) Chinese Tambourin arr. v. Wienhardt / Lipkind
Total Playing Time 77’03
* for cello solo ** for two celli (multitrack recording)
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cred i t s
Gavriel Lipkind plays a unique Italian cello labeled (erroneously) “Aloysius Michael
Garani (Bologna, 1702)”. It is estimated, to have been completed in the years 16701680; An enigma which has come to be known as “The Zihrhonheimer Cello”.
remastered by Christoph Claßen (2006) Produced by Abraham Gat Balance
Engineering and Editing Vadim Beili, Ilia Beck Location Jerusalem Music
Center, Mishkenot Sha’ananim, Israel Production Coordinator Keren Dahari
The Zihrhonheimer Cello
could become an
inseparable part of
Mr. Lipkind’s music
making thanks to the
support of M. & D. P.
Designed by alessandri-design.at PRODUKTION Jan Scheffler printsprofessional.de Text Editing Shary Greenberg, Brian Hunt Photography Marco Borggreve, Gerhard Heller, Ms. Lubchansky: private
archive DISC Manufacturing interdisc-berlin.de
2006 Gavriel Lipkind
Find all releases of Lipkind Productions at
S single-voice polyphony
C chamber music
H cello heroics
single voice
MISHA KATZ conductor
single voice
LiPkind PRodUCTionS — oBJECTS oF dESiRE
Find the complete product line of Lipkind Productions at www.LiPkind.inFo
All recordings are available digitally for download also as high resolution and surround.
Many titles are available as special exclusive editions and sheet music bundles.

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