|(Halifax, NS) Halifax’s Leaf Music is releasing Durme, Durme: Four Ladino Folk Songs, with award-winning soprano Maureen Batt and collaborative pianist, Tara Scott. This new work is an exploration of Judeo-Spanish poetry and song. Composer Elisha Denberg (elishadenburg.com) notes that Sephardic traditions were shared in his family through the teachings and performances of his uncle, Moshe Denburg and grandmother, Miriam Ben-Ezra Denburg, and he’s used “the poems’ traditional melodies as springboards to a newly rendered work, in the Jewish tradition of ‘renewing days as of old.’” The work was supported by a commission from the Ontario Arts Council. Texts and translations are edited by Daisy Sadaka Braverman.
The four songs range from a simple lullaby (Durme, durme, or Sleep, sleep), to the intense solo vocal, liturgical/cantorial chant of Ir me kero, madre, a Yerushalayim (I want to go, mother, to Jerusalem). Inspired by the Hineni (Here I am), a synagogue prayer chanted on Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year), this prayer is sung by the cantor asking God to accept both personal and communal prayers on behalf of the entire congregation. The traditional melody is used in the refrain, En El me arimo Yo (In Him I place my trust).
Elisha Denburg has composed vocal music and chamber works for ensembles such as Access Contemporary Music, TorQ Percussion Quartet, Halifax Camerata Singers, The Array Ensemble and Essential Opera, who commissioned his one-act opera about the first female rabbi, Regina. His music can be heard on CBC Radio 2’s The Signal with Laurie Brown, About Time with Tom Allen, and Tempo with Julie Nesrallah. His three-movement work Sonatina for Vibraphone & Harp is featured on Angela Schwarzkopf’s JUNO-winning album detach.
Soprano Maureen Batt (maureenbatt.com) focuses on celebrating Canadian classical contemporary music and is an ECMA and JUNO nominee and winner for her discography. She’s the co-artistic director of Essential Opera, and founded Crossing Borders, a contemporary Western classical music recital series that has toured programs in the United States, Canada and Colombia and produced digital broadcasts. Maureen is a frequent festival adjudicator and has been regularly on the faculty of the Halifax Summer Opera Festival. Having premiered many new opera roles by Canadian composers, she most recently won the Classical Recording of the Year at the 2022 ECMAs for her Lighthouse project with Grej.
Tara Scott (piano) is one of Atlantic Canada’s most renowned collaborative pianists. She’s worked across Canada with singers, instrumentalists and choirs, and co-founded Halifax Summer Opera Festival, now in its sixteenth season. She’s been Music Director for shows with Neptune Theatre, Eastern Front and Essential Opera, and has performed with Opera Nova Scotia, Opera New Brunswick and Halifax Theatre for Young People. Tara maintains a busy private piano study and teaches at the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts. This EP is Tara’s second commercial release, her first being the JUNO-nominated Breathing in the Shadows with song cycles by Saman Shahi.
The album was recorded at St. Andrew’s United Church in Halifax in October of 2022.
This project is funded in part by FACTOR, the Government of Canada and Canada’s private radio broadcasters, with support from Music Nova Scotia and Arts Nova Scotia. Ce projet est financé en partie par FACTOR, le gouvernement du Canada et les radiodiffuseurs privés du Canada.
Release Date: February 3, 2023
Catalog Number LM2032
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