MICHÈLE GINGRAS, clarinet
Ron Matson Piano
Rabbi Tom Heyn Tenor
"In 1998, the Argentine-born Israeli composer Daniel Galay [composed] Klezmer Tunes with a Classical Touch, a collection of 18 original songs in the Jewish folk style for violin or clarinet. Although the music appears straightforward on the page, Galay encourages the soloist to add vibrato, accents, ornamentation, and glissandos as needed and gives the pianist permission to improve the accompaniments... Here, Miami University ( Ohio ) clarinet professor Michele Gingras and noted pianist and conductor Ron Matson collaborate on the first commercial recording of Galay’s book... Trained at the Montreal Conservatory and Northwestern University , Gingras boasts a solid background in both the French school of clarinet and American jazz, and her many solo and chamber albums testify to her versatility. In the early 1990s, she began to study the role of the clarinet in Jewish music; and for the last 15 years she has been a leading force on the Cincinnati Klezmer scene. So she has plenty of insight and tools at her disposal... Gingras and Matson...know what these songs need, and their interpretation soars well above the written page. Gingras infuses every inch of the score with sensuous sound effects, but her vibrato, glissandos, and growls are not merely a pastiche of decorations; rather, they are natural elements of an organic Jewish dialect that makes up her entire timbre, sculpted to the rules of good taste, yet simmering with nuance, color, and soul. Matson brings his wonderful touch and pedal work to the concert, but he too has a lot of fun, filling out the piano part with his own catchy rhythms and virtuosic showmanship."
Hanudel, American Record Guide - July / August 2010
"Daniel Galay’s creative impulse derives stimulation and replenishment from the culture of East European Jewry—its folklore, literature, and music. He’s written several collections of klezmer with 18 pieces per book—the number 18 has special significance in Hebrew, as it’s equated with chai, “life.” Each book was inspired by a particular theme. In this first volume, far (“for”) ties the pieces together, as it’s either the first word or syllable of each title (in Yiddish). Besides writing for aesthetic or emotional satisfaction, Galay hopes to allow classically trained musicians entrée into a tradition that perpetuated itself largely through oral transmission and embellished its effectiveness through improvisation and idiomatic instrumental techniques. He’s obviously finely attuned to klezmer, writing easily and convincingly. The music is emotionally varied, authentically veering between joy and melancholy as portrayed in sincere and beautiful melodies. Although Michèle Gingras’s biography mentions her substantial klezmer experience, she doesn’t indulge in the pyrotechnics popularized by clarinetists like Giora Feldman and his peers, whose wailing, hyper intensity is so pungently expressive in this emotive music. Ron Matson’s a skillful accompanist with a light touch, and Rabbi Tom Heyn performs his part in Farn Oylem (“For the audience”) with just the right amount of long-suffering humor. This is a well-played, heart-felt homage to a perennially vital genre."
Fanfare - July / August 2009
"[Galay's] writing on this disc is for clarinet and piano – it brings a formalised, classical setting to a folkloric music. His written klezmer books consist of eighteen pieces, as does this disc; and each one here bears a dedication ‘far’ (in English ‘for’) someone or something. Most are very brief – around the two-minute mark - and only one breaks the four minute barrier. One of Galay’s favourite interpreters is the clarinettist Michèle Gingras, the long-time Professor of Clarinet at Miami University and she is well versed in the klezmatic arts and takes the stage here with admirable aplomb... The pieces range from melancholy to vibrant, from reflective to voluble and most stops in between... For Rivka has a full complement of expressive curlicues, strong in the lower register as much as in the piping, insistent upper one. It’s good to see that Galay explores the lower register so consistently and if he never becomes, as it were, ‘chalumeau blue’, then this is a strong component of his writing. Farfel is a sinuous lament and Fading does, cleverly, just what is says, winding down just as one expects a cadential passage. A snack is suitably jolly with cimbalon runs for the piano – Galay doesn’t write too many of these so they are to be savoured – whilst Forever! gives us some tense chording to support a fluid and finely noble clarinet lyric. Lateness is wistful and reflective and then the music seems to ratchet up the tempestuous bar for the final furlong. A crooked story is extrovert and stomping, For bride and groom is duly celebratory and avuncular with excited figures throughout... We have here some highly enjoyable and versatile music-making from the Gingras-Matson duo. The songs are respectful, and certainly not stylised or formalised out of recognition. Instead they marry classical elements with klezmer ones with real success."
Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International - May 2009
Michèle Gingras is Professor of Clarinet at Miami University (OH) since 1986, where she was named Crossan Hays Curry Distinguished Educator and Distinguished Scholar of the Graduate Faculty. The revised edition of her book Clarinet Secrets–52 Performance Strategies for the Advanced Clarinetist was published in 2006 by Scarecrow Press. She performed as a soloist, chamber, orchestral and klezmer musician on four continents, recorded 13 CDs, published 150 articles and reviews in various international clarinet magazines, and taught numerous master classes worldwide. Ms. Gingras is Past-Secretary of the International Clarinet Association, and an Artist Clinician for Buffet Crampon USA and Rico International. She earned a Premier Prix from the Montreal Music Conservatory and a M.M. from Northwestern University. She is sponsored by the Miami University School of Fine Arts.
Ron J. Matson is a versatile musician who has shaped a career as a conductor, accompanist, organist, piano soloist and teacher. He has performed as piano accompanist across the U.S. and throughout Europe. The New York Times called him"...the considerate and sensitively musical piano accompanist." Mr. Matson has served many years as pianist for Cincinnati Ballet, performing much of the solo piano repertoire for that company. He is conductor of the Richmond (Virginia) Ballet and music director and conductor for the Suzanne Farrell Ballet Company at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
Daniel Galay is a prolific composer whose works span many genres, including music for orchestra, theater, ballet and chamber music. Many of his works were composed to his own texts, which concern themselves with Jewish folklore. Since his first book of Klezmer Tunes with a classical touch was published in 1998, the music has been widely accepted, and selections from it have been recorded by klezmer artists in several countries. This is the first commercially released recording of the music of the entire book. Mr. Galay has been awarded many prizes and grants, among them the Sarah Gorby Prize for his many works composed to Yiddish texts. He travels frequently, performing his works as piano soloist and with various chamber ensembles, and conducting workshops on klezmer music. Daniel Galay serves as director of the Beit Frankfurt Music Conservatory in Tel Aviv.
Mr. Galay was born in 1945 in Argentina and immigrated to Israel in 1965. He is a graduate of the Rubin Academy of Music in Tel Aviv, and of the University of Chicago where he received his MA degree in Composition in 1979. Galay's love for the klezmer style - Jewish soul music - dates from his childhood in Argentina. Since the 1970's he has written many compositions in this genre, which have been performed in many countries by well-known musicians such as Giora Feidman, Haya Livni, Herut Israeli, Racheli Galay, Chen Tsimbalista, Eldad Shiloach, Valentin Surif, Dora Gurevitz, Angelica Pardo, and Orit Orbach. He serves as artistic director of "Chachmei Safed," an ensemble which performs annually in the Klezmer Festival in Safed.
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Sheet Music may be purchased from
OR-TAV Music Publications
Far Rivke (For Rivka)
Far Pinyes Tekhter
(For Pinye's daughters)
Far Vos, Raboysay?
(For what, gentlemen?)
Far Dvoyrele (For Deborah)
Farbaysekhts (A snack)
Farn Keyser (For the emperor)
Farginer (The benevolent)
Far Ale Mol! (Forever!)
Farkatshte Arbl (Folded sleeves)
Farputste Lordn (Elegant lords)
Fardreyte Mayse (A crooked story)
Far Yentele (For Yentel)
Far Khosn-Kale (For bride and groom)
Farshtopte Kep (Closed heads)
Farn Oylem (For the audience)