The Music of Meira Warshauer
Spring 2006 Volume III, Number II
Meira in Bratislava
Three major works by Meira Warshauer, Ahavah (Love), Shacharit (Morning Service) and Like Streams in the Desert, were performed in “Music of the Jewish Heart,” a concert by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Slovak Philharmonic Choir, mezzo soprano Jennifer Hines, soprano Stephanie Gregory and tenor Michael Hendrick, all under the direction of Maestro Kirk Trevor on Thursday, February 2 – 7:00 PM at The Concert Hall of Slovak Radio in Bratislava, Slovakia. This concert was broadcast live on Slovak Radio also webcast live on the Internet through the Slovak Radio website– http://www.slovakradio.sk. We’ve had reports of people listening to the concert in Japan, Canada, the U.S., Czech Republic, Austria, Israel and , of course, Slovakia.
Then, the next day, all the performers went into the studio to record Shacharit and Like Streams in the Desert, thus finishing the CD recording they had begun with Ahavah, recorded before the concert.
The CD will be released in the Fall of 2006 on Albany Records. Look for more details in future issues of Bracha.
Meira kept a wonderfully detailed online trip diary or blog of the concert, the CD and the whole experience of being in Slovakia for Sequenza21.com webmagazine. Following are some excerpts from that blog:
From an early entry, “I'm at the internet cafe near my hotel. It was a long trip, but got here safe and sound…Maria, Kirk (Trevor's) wife, met me at the hotel and took me to the Reduta, the main concert hall, where the Philharmonic Choir rehearses. I worked with the chorus for 2 hours this afternoon. The director is lovely and the singers have a beautiful sound, and they love the music. The most challenging part is the section in English in "Ahavah" that is like sing/speech--I see what Sam Adler meant when he said it is easier for a non-English speaking chorus to pronounce
Slovak Philharmonic Choir in rehearsal
English when singing than when speaking. Well, everything else is singing, and that sounds beautiful. We'll work with the chorus again Monday afternoon when the soloists are all here.”
When Meira wasn’t feeling well, her Slovakian publicist Timotea Vrablova sent this after the concert, “I am writing my first impressions after the concert. It was simply AMAZING! Standing ovations and both music and musicians were more than worthy of it. Listening to Ahavah you could taste different aspects of love between God and people. The
After the concert – (l to r - Timotea Vrablova Meira, Michael Hendrick, Jennifer Hines, Stephanie Gregory, Kirk Trevor
first part was like looking at the picture of "sand, which is on the seashore" bathed by large sea waves of love. The second part - Hishamru - captured your concentration to watch the path of His will and the last one was like expression of eternal safety coming from passing the covenant of love from generation to generation… Shacharit was a real great experience for the audience, too. It is a beautifully and well-balanced orchestration, and an exceedingly creative composition. Meira was able to use orchestral instruments in innovative ways (e.g. percussions, violins).”
Then, this lovely entry, “In the middle of all the activity, I have flashes of being so
Slovak Radio Orchestra in rehearsal
grateful for having this music come through me and for now being able to offer it to the world through the recording. Hearing the narration in Slovak is very moving---making concrete that this music will be broadcast here in Slovakia bringing its message of peace and love. I am privileged to be a part of this amazing unfolding, and pray that this music, inspired by the traditional Jewish texts, will help bring some light and wisdom to point us towards a hopeful future.”
And during the recording process, Meira wrote, “Hubert Geschwandtner, the engineer, and Emil Niznansky, the producer were on top of every detail of the sound. They are a great team, and have a proven track record of many fine recordings with the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra. I loved being in the recording booth with them and Blanka. (I have been in a few other recording booths, and physically, this one is the easiest to work from, with a clear view of the orchestra, good lighting, and plenty of room.)… Kirk really grasped the drama and emotion behind the music, and made it come alive in his conducting. When I met with him in Knoxville several years ago, he had some perceptive observations about the music, and I incorporated some of those suggestions when revising the music for the recording. Even during the sessions, Kirk made suggestions to improve the balance in a couple of places --I think Kirk's other calling is really music editor!...The chorus was wonderful, and the director, Blanka Juhanakova, loved the music and really brought out the spiritual sensitivity and power of the text. Their Hebrew was great--they had worked with two Hebrew coaches before I arrived. They sang English very well, and we worked on the spoken English, so it also sounded very good. (I mentioned some concern in one of my earlier posts, but I requested 15 minutes of rehearsal time to work on it, and they were very responsive to correction.)”
And finally, back home after the project was completed, “The main thing now is, we did it! I felt God kept us in the light, and blessed the whole venture. The only way I could get through it was to remember to trust that the whole project was ultimately in God's hands. I am happy and grateful that this very time-sensitive part of the CD project--the recording, with so many coordinated performers-- has been completed.”
You can read the complete blog at http://www.sequenza21.com/warshauer.html
Many thanks to Jerry Bowles, editor of Sequenza21.com for hosting this blog.
For more information about Meira Warshauer, including a complete catalog of her works, visit her website at http://home.sc.rr.com/meirawarshauer/.
For any other information about the music of Meira Warshauer, please contact Jeffrey James Arts Consulting at 516-586-3433 or firstname.lastname@example.org.