Join musician/composer Joshua Horowitz in this virtual lecture revealing the fascinating story behind the creation and subsequent restoration of Henekh Kon’s Yiddish opera “Bas Sheve.” Find out everything you didn’t realize you needed to know about this landmark work, which is making its North American premiere in three shows at Toronto’s Glenn Gould Studio as part of the Ashkenaz Festival from August 31 to Sept 2 [click HERE for more info and tickets]
The 1924 Opera, “Bas-Sheve” (Bathsheba) by Henekh Kon is recognized as the only surviving Yiddish opera composed on pre-war European soil. Never performed after its 1924 premiere in Warsaw (and then only with piano accompaniment), the piano score was lost for nearly a century before being rediscovered in 2017, albeit with 16 pages missing from the climactic section of the work. Scholar Diana Matut subsequently initiated a restoration of the piece, commissioning Josh Horowitz to compose the 6 missing scenes (to Michael Wex’s text “reconstruction”) from the manuscript and orchestrate the score for the first time, for its eventual 2019 European premiere in Weimar and Lodz. This lecture takes a deep dive into how the score reconstruction and orchestration was approached, accompanied by a merciless analysis of Kon’s work. Josh compares the opera and the techniques of score reconstruction to that of other composers and lays bare Kon’s method and compositional skills, while taking the question head-on as to whether a double standard is applied to Yiddish music when we speak about musical quality.
This event is sponsored by the Shockett Yiddish Teachers Training Fund and the Steinhart Foundation, both at the Jewish Foundation of Greater Toronto.
“Bas Sheve” is presented as part of the 2022 Ashkenaz Festival in partnership with the UCLA Lowell Milken Center for Music of American Jewish Experience and Yiddish Summer Weimar, and with the generous financial support of Canada Council for the Arts, Azrieli Foundation, Toronto Workmen’s Circle Foundation, Glenn Gould School at RCM. Media sponsor is Classical 96.3FM.