Nigunim, Hebrew Melodies

Available on CD and digital download


Jewish folk music has always played an integral part in Gil and Orli Shahams' lives. This release includes masterpieces by Ernest Bloch, Joseph Achron, and Leo Zeitlin, and as their idiomatic writing for the violin suggests, they all started their musical lives as child prodigy violinists. Also included is music from the wonderful Schindler's List score by John Williams.

The centrepiece of this release comes from the work sharing the album's title Nigunim, commissioned by Gil and Orli from Israeli composer Avner Dorman. Dorman's composition shares the universal appeal of the wordless melodies on which it was named. 'He has created a masterpiece and in my experience everybody who hears the piece falls in love with it they're electrified by it,' Gil explains. Indeed, when he recently toured the work, San Diego Today affirmed that 'it was hard to miss [its] visceral excitement and structural elegance,' the Boston Globe admiring the 'uncommonly intriguing sounds'.

'One of San Francisco's favorite violinists, Gil Shaham, joins his pianist sister Orli on this collection of Hebrew melodies. The title refers to Avner Dorman's Violin Sonata #3, Nigunim, which the Shahams jointly commissioned with the 92nd St. Y. Based on the common elements of Jewish melodies throughout the world, Dorman's sonata is filled with haunting multi-cultural beauty. It also seems right at home with works by Bonime, Achron, Zeitlin, Bloch (Baal Shem), and Williams (Schindler's List).'

The Bay Area Reporter

'An entrancing and moving labour of love from Gil Shaham and his sister Orli, exploring Hebrew melodies. Bloch's Baal Shem beautifully played, but the lesser known pieces captivate.' ★★★★★'

'I can’t imagine a better performance of these works. There is no need to recount Gil Shaham’s devilish virtuosity. He plays with panache; however, it’s the expressivity that is the center-piece here...This album is full of that singular Jewish spirit, the sadness and the smile. It is heartfelt and profound.'

MusicWeb International
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