After many years I renewed this season my subscription at the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. An announcement received yesterday inspired me for the theme to pick for this Sukkot holiday. A change in program brings in the first concert of the new season the ‘Ouverture on Hebrew Themes’ by Prokofiev. I searched for it, as I did not know it, and then for some of the pieces of music inspired by the Jewish tradition (and by tradition I mean musical tradition as well) and here are a few of the gems I found.


(video source Raniero Tazzi)


First, here is the piece that triggered my search. Sergei Profofiev’s Ouverture on Hebrew Themes played by the Brodsky Quartet.


(video source goturhjem2)


I also found a splendid piece by Shostakovich which I did not know – the Piano Trio No. 2, Op. 67. Here is it’s story as it appears on the youTube page:

Shostakovich’s Piano Trio No. 2, Op. 67, is remarkable for a number of reasons. It was written in 1944, just after his Symphony No. 8, with which it shares its overall structure; it is a lamentation for both Shostakovich’s close friend, musicologist Ivan Sollertinsky, and the victims of the Holocaust, the news of which horror did not reach the U.S.S.R. until the liberation of the camps began; and it is his first work to employ a “Jewish theme,” a musical tribute that used the scales and rhythms of Jewish folk music as Shostakovich knew it.

The interpretation belongs to the Borodin Quartet.


(video source Alexander Rosenblatt)


Pianist and composer Alexander Rosenblatt authored a Fantasia on Theme in Jewish Style for two pianos. Here he is playing it together with Oleg Sinkin.


(video source Wellesz and Co)


In my teens years I had the chance to see Aaron Copland conducting in Bucharest. I now discovered a beautiful piece inspired by the Jewish tradition of Eastern Europe called Vitebsk. This version belongs to the Niew Amsterdam Trio.


(video source Gerard Vecordia)


To end, here is one of the most famous works belonging to this category – Leonard Bernstein’s Kaddish symphony. Bernstein conducts this version with the IPO and Montserrat Caballe.





(illustration – Sukkah meal. Amsterdam, 1722 by Bernard Picart)


I hope that you enjoyed these piece of music at least as much as I did.

Hag Sukkot Sameakh! A Happy Sukkot!