Concert to celebrate the inauguration of the Tunkel Collection

7:30pm, Sun, 30 Jun 2024

  • Event Details
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  • Type of event: Performance
    Start time: 7:30pm
    Venue: Belsize Square Synagogue
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    Description: Concert to celebrate the inauguration of the Tunkel Collection

    A concert in memorial tribute to Victor Tunkel, and marking the transition of his Jewish Music Collection to become part of the Leo Baeck College Library

    The Zemel Choir (Musical Director: Ben Wolf)
    Soloists: Eliot Alderman, Graeme Alexander, and Adrian Alexander

    My father passed away in July 2019.  Not long after that, the world was overrun by the Covid Pandemic.  Among the many things that this affected was the process of transferring his large and much-celebrated collection of Jewish music books and manuscripts to the Library at Leo Baeck College.   I had first to audit the collection listing what he had left me - a process interrupted for over a year of the Pandemic.  Transferring the materials to the Leo Baeck took several phases.   The entire collection occupies over 40 meters of shelf space.  I am pleased to say that the Library Team at Leo Baeck, (comprised chiefly of Cassy Sachar and Julie Feiler), completed the accession process in early 2024, and the close family were invited to a very touching “ribbon-cutting” ceremony at the Library on 25th March.

    We discussed a concert, based on material from the Collection, to mark the transition.  It was appropriate that the Zemel Choir, which my father helped to found and with which I sing today, should be the principal artistes.  It fell to me to produce the Concert.   I wanted it to illustrate what sort of programming can be achieved by reference to a research music collection such as this.  There is ample raw material there for concerts by the dozen, and I have chosen. (and in good measure, arranged from scratch), music from the Collection to illustrate this.   As examples:

    ·       The rarely performed setting for Ps 150 by C V Alkan, (far better known for his maniacally difficult piano music), which is featured in one of Samuel Naumbourg’s books, published in Paris in 1864);

    ·       A gem of a Ladino song from the Bayonne Jewish Community that somehow missed all of the substantial collections of Sephardic folk music; and

    ·       The haunting composition for V’shom'ru by Austrian-born American Jewish composer Heinrich Schalit.

    Oh – and we will perform the well-known Sholom Aleichem of Israel Goldfarb the way he intended it to be sung.

    Eliot Alderman and the Alexander Brothers perform my arrangement for three tenors of four melodies my father wrote for the Passover Seder.

    Many of you knew my father well: as a synagogue singer, music teacher, expert on leyening, fellow chorister, Jewish music all-round maven – and above all as a good friend.   This is really the first opportunity we have had to construct a fitting musical memorial to him.  I hope you may come to be part of what should be an engaging and highly original concert.

    Daniel Tunkel
    London 2024

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