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Songs of the Diaspora Die Jüdin von Toledo An Evening with Heinrich Heine Voices of Israel Out of Theresienstadt

The Jewess of Toledo

Spanish and Sephardic Music of the Middle Ages
collage: forum for early music berlin

Alfonso X, "the Wise", transformed his court in 13th century Toledo to a meeting place for Christians, Jews and Muslims from all over Europe and the Near East. It became a place for the lively exchange ofideas and inspiration in science and the arts. But was it only Alfonso's academic interests that spurred his open and tolerant ways? Perhaps the echo of an old story reverberated there as well - the legendary love of of his great grandfather to the beautiful Raquel, the "Jewess of Toledo"
A dream of ours is realized in this program: to connect the written music of Alfonso's court (the Cantigas de Santa Maria, possibly from Alfonsos' own hand, and the Cantigas de Amigo ) with the ancient oral tradition of the Sephardim, the Spanish jews, and perform them in one program. Through this music we wish to recall the harmonious co-existence of peoples and faiths and that rare historical moment where the diverse traditions of religion and art united to bring forth a particularly rich culture. It is an inspiration to this day.
This program was commissioned by the "Cultural Summer of Rheineland-Palantine" and supported in part by the Anni-Eisler-Lehmann Foundation in Mainz. It was invited to the Bodensee Festival in 2005 and released as a CD in 2006

Collage: forum for early music berlin
Judy Kadar, the Hungarian pioneer of the historical harp, Klaus Sonnemann, shawms and recorders, and Achim Blasejewsky, zymbalon, fidel & percussion, are known for their spirited musicianship coupled with intimate understanding of the improvisational arts which were a major part of the medieval musical culture. A wide selection of instruments and love of detailed craftsmanship give them freedom to play "far from any stereotype". The joint concerts with alto Elizabeth Neiman are filled with rich colours and passionate artistry.

forum for early music berl

Press clippings:
"World Religions United !
For the audience it seems to have been love at first sight. Such engaged playing, such apparent love of every detail opened all ears for the unusual and exotic sounds of this music. Klaus Sonnemann freed the sound of the shawm from any uncouthness; beautifully light and silvery his brillant recorder playing... Neiman constantly surprises the listener with yet another new nuance of her warm alto... text-shaping at its best. The enthusiastic and long applaus in the full theater was rewarded with a number of encores. " Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung

"an enormously colourful, lively picture in sound" Wiesbadener Kurier

"Medieval Music flooded the church, woven into a journey in time that let the audience forget here and now. The musicians cast a spell with their enchanting program - a broad palette from gently melancholic to "get up and dance" (which some did!) Unabashed joy combined with a deep bond to the music and to the musical harmony and communcation within the quartet itself created a magical atmosphere." Die Rhein-Pfalz


A la una (seph. trad)

Adío (seph. trad.)

Ondas do Mar
Martin Codax

Rosa das Rosas (Cantigas de Santa Maria)