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Lahav Shani

Paul Ben-Haim - Symphony #1 w/Israel Philharmonic

Deutsche Grammophon
Release Date: October 28, 2022

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1 I_Allegro energico  
2 II_ Molto calmo e cantabile  
3 III_ Presto con fuoco  
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Album coincides with the conductor’s first international tour with the orchestra  since he became its Music Director 
Lahav Shani, 33, became Music Director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in the 2020-21 season as successor to the legendary Zubin Mehta. Also a hugely accomplished instrumentalist, he spent several years as a double bassist within the orchestra’s ranks and appeared as solo pianist with his fellow players aged just 18.  He and the orchestra are now set to release a live recording of one of the great landmarks of twentieth-century Israeli music. Their Deutsche Grammophon e-album of Paul Ben-Haim’s Symphony No.1 will be available from 28 October 2022, issued in advance of their much-anticipated nine-concert tour of the United States in November. 

Shani’s eloquent interpretation of the symphony highlights the contrasting moods of this three-movement work. Under his baton, the orchestra conveys every last spark of the intense, restless energy of its outer movements, whose turbulence reflects the wartime backdrop against which the symphony was written. Creating an oasis of calm between the two, conductor and orchestra give a wonderfully lyrical reading of the central slow movement, which quotes part of a traditional song from the Persian Jewish community that Ben-Haim had recently arranged for pioneering Israeli folk singer Bracha Tzfira. 
Having graduated from the Munich Academy of Music in 1920, served as assistant to Bruno Walter at the Bayerisches Staatstheater and subsequently become Kapellmeister of Augsburg Opera, the composer had emigrated to Palestine in October 1933, following Hitler’s seizure of power. It was then that he changed his surname from Frankenburger to Ben-Haim, “son of life” in Hebrew.

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