Coplas Sefardies by Alberto Hemsi – Vol.1

Published by the Europäische Zentrum für Jüdische Musik (EZJM) in Hanover and the music laber Rondeau Production

From traditional Judeo-Spanish songs to art music …


With their recording of Alberto Hemsi’s Coplas Sefardies, Assaf Levitin (cantor at the liberal synagogue in Hanover) and pianist Naaman Wagner rediscover an almost extinct world of European Jewish culture, on the occasion of the 120th anniversary of the birth of the composer Alberto Hemsi (1898-1975)

Alberto Hemsi was a fervent admirer of Sephardic folklore and its musical traditions. As a pianist and composer, he collected 230 poems and melodies in the Sephardic communities of the old Ottoman Empire between 1923 and 1937. Of this important body of work, Hemsi will retain 60 traditional melodies for which he composed “pianistic parts, whose realization turned out to be rather complicated, because it was not a question of ‘accompanying’ simply the said songs, but framing them in small symphonic pictures, in order to make them suggest as much as possible, the atmosphere, the state of mind, the subject and the melody “.

Alberto Hemsi’s Coplas Sefardies thus offer a renewed vision of the Judeo-Spanish oral tradition magnified by the composer’s creative thought. This symbiosis between traditional song and scholarly art, oral spontaneity and written thought, is particularly successful in the work of Alberto Hemsi, a composer serving Sephardic culture.

This first volume of a box-set that will include 3 CDs, offers us 24 wonderful Judeo-Spanish songs. To listen without moderation.

Learn more about Alberto Hemsi
Buy the CD Coplas Sefardies – Judeo-Spanish songs by Alberto Hemsi – Vol.1
Look at Alberto Hemsi’s archives deposited at the EIJM

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