In The Fiddler's House (Itzhak Perlman)
One of the finest classical crossover albums ever, and wouldn't you know it, it's Jewish! Violin maestro Perlman convened the brightest lights of today's klezmer scene for his exploration of shtetl soul, a collaboration that birthed a PBS special, a video, and a sequel of sorts, Tradition, focusing on more religious fare. But In The Fiddler's House, there's a party going on as the classical master applies his finely filligreed tones to the rough-and-ready rhythms of Eastern-European dance music. With clarinetist/mandolinist Andy Statman, the Klezmatics, the Klezmer Conservatory Band, and Alan Bern's Brave Old World on hand, Perlman proves himself an amiable host. He's not afraid to give the estimable company their share of the spotlight. You never get the feeling that Perlman is slumming it with his young colleagues or that the klez kats are indulging a game but hopelessly square uncle. While it would be wrong to call In The Fiddler's House a klezmer album, with its unique fusion of culture high and low -- not to mention blazing instrumental work -- Perlman's project achieves that rare crossover dream. There's something for klezmer fans in his limpid virtuosity, to be sure. But by opening up the lyricism of these rambunctious tunes with his liquid bowing, Perlman gives one weighty argument for the serious need to preserve the klezmer repertoire, one that's essentially been consigned to bar mitzvah entertainment and wedding bands. In The Fiddler's House is one place where Jews, non-Jews, klezmer fans, and fiddle buffs can all feel at home.
- Release Date:
- Warner Classics
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