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Paul Ben Haim (1897-1984)

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I didn't know much about this composer except the lyrical 'Sweet Psalmist of Israel' coupled with Bloch's 'Sacred Service' (Bernstein) on an old Sony double CD set - but I just bought a great new CPO CD with his Symphony No 1 (1940). Ben Haim was born Paul Frankenburger in Munich and fled when the Nazis took over ( he'd briefly been Bruno Walter's assistant at the Munich Opera) and settled in Palestine, changing his name.

The Symphony No 1 is unsurprisingly troubled and stormy - rather moving in its historical context. It is a little like Mahler meets Bloch, Respighi and Miklos Rozsa.  The other works on the CD are excellent too.  I thought that the 'Fanfare to Israel' did not sound promising, but it features a very moving, redemptive hymn which I found very affecting.  Here it is on You Tube:

The 'Symphonic Metamorphoses on Bach Chorale' also features some eloquent lyrical sequences.  Altogether an excellent CD.

Thanks for the recommendation, Jeffrey.

I was wondering whether to get this disc :)


--- Quote from: Dundonnell on September 06, 2011, 02:08:22 PM ---Thanks for the recommendation, Jeffrey.

I was wondering whether to get this disc :)

--- End quote ---

I think you'd like it Colin - I keep wanting to play it - which is a good sign I think!  All three works are appealing and I can play the CD right through with much pleasure.  The Fanfare was the biggest surprise - I was expecting something like 'Fanfare for the Common Man', but this is much more reflective and I found it deeply moving.

Fanfare for the Common Man? That's by Pans People,isn't it?!!!

Just discovered Ben Haim's Symphony No 2.  Reminds me a bit of a Bloch/Rozsa/Vaughan Williams synthesis - very enjoyable.

Glad my Ben Haim thread has been a Roman Triumph  ;D


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