Kristine L Ming

Jerusalem to Berlin to Kfar Blum

The second installment of the 2017-2018 season of musical weekends at the Pastoral Hotel, at Kibbutz Kfar Blum, ticked most of the consumer wish boxes. There was quality entertainment, edifying spots, fun, outdoor activities and, of course, tons of tasty nutritional fortification.

The weekender opened with the evergreen Dan Almagor spearheading the To the Yekkes with Love multidisciplinary show. Almagor is a phenomenon of nature and appears to have lost nothing of his zest for life, and boundless energy, even at the age of 82. There is probably not a single consumer of Hebrew language culture in this country, in the past half century, who has not enjoyed his repartee, educated MCing, translation of foreign language plays or pop songs for which he wrote the lyrics.

Together with the polished veteran instrumental-vocal trio of Gabi Argov, Dafna Zehavi and Eyal Habib, Almagor ran his rule over the works of such wordsmiths as Haim Alexander, Natan Zach and Daniel Samboursky, and spiced up the proceedings with some risible caricatures from way back when. There was even a hilarious video of Mati Caspi trying to keep a straight face as he played the piano and sang surrounded by some highly affectionate bovines in a cowshed.

The second evening’s program was introduced by the MC as “the climax of the weekend’s proceedings.” While that may have seemed a little disrespectful to the other performers, she wasn’t far wrong. The Glory of Bach show featured two stellar artists, in the shape of feted composer, conductor and pianist Gil Shochat and peerless opera singer Keren Hadar. The glory part of the show moniker – hadar, in Hebrew – referenced the singer who, as usual, put in a quality turn.

Shochat also enlightened us about some of the intricacies of Bach, whom he termed “the greatest composer of all time.” Shochat even took the trouble to roll out a few bars written by the likes of Rachmaninoff and Beethoven, which he said were far less intricate. The repertoire also featured works by various composers influenced by Bach, and we all left the show well entertained and better informed.

Unfortunately, the excellent weekend program ended on something of a low note. Conductor Ronen Borshevsky opened the proceedings with some insightful and witty observations about Mozart, prior to the performance of Mozart’s Requiem. Borshevsky came armed with the venerated, and sizeable, Ichud Choir plus four soloists, however, the sumptuous riches of the work’s velvety textures did not come across in their fullest glory. It may have had something to do with the acoustics of the hall, but it was a bit of a letdown after such a well-planned, top-notch lineup.

And, if you happen to head up north for any of the series’ weekends throughout the year you may want to avail yourself of the hotel spa services, massage included.

For more information: www.pastoral-hotel.com/

Article source: http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Culture/Jerusalem-to-Berlin-to-Kfar-Blum-540594

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