Klezmer Karma – Roby Lakatos & Ensemble, with Myriam Fuks & Aldo Granato and The Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra – Avanti Classic

by | Mar 10, 2007 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

“Klezmer Karma” – Roby Lakatos & Ensemble, with Myriam Fuks & Aldo Granato and The Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra – Avanti Classic Multichannel SACD 5414706 10242, 70:58 **** [Distr. Forte Distribution]:

When I first started work in broadcasting I was at an FM station which had inherited from another station a collection of LPs – mostly 10-inch – of folk and international music. Which we never played, being a classical station. I dubbed off to a couple of C-90 cassettes (I called them Cassamplers), alternating tracks from gypsy, Jewish and Flamenco LPs.  I felt they had some musical connections, and seemed to go well together.

Violinist and leader of his ensemble Roby Lakatos is interviewed in the note booklet, and he says exactly the same thing, at least of klezmer and gypsy music. He even tells of the recording session with Yiddish singer Myriam Fuks of a Jewish prayer titled Ani Maamin. He says all the gypsies and Hungarians in the studio were convinced they were recording a traditional folk song of theirs, because it was identical note for note.

Lakatos has done previous albums breaking out of the usual Hungarian gypsy genre, but this is his first bringing together gypsy and klezmer, along with hints of tango, jazz, waltz and funk. And his is not the only band engaging in such musical mixes. This is also his first playing with a classical chamber orchestra.  The arrangements are tasteful and never degenerate into the sort of Hungarian restaurant gypsy kitsch you might expect, and the orchestra is not heard on every one of the 15 tracks. Granato is the guest soloist on accordion, and the pianist also pinch-hits on Hammond B3 on a few tracks! Of course there is the cimbalom – can’t have gypsy music without that. In the midst of the set I couldn’t believe my ears, I was hearing a melody on the violins that sounded exactly like Dizzy Fingers. It was, only it was attributed to Lakatos. Well, who knows, maybe it began as a klezmer or gypsy tune…

The playing is of high quality and the surround sonics as well. One doesn’t come across many recordings of such music in surround sound.  My only beef with the disc is the lack of any translations or even summaries of the vocal numbers.

 – John Sunier 

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