The leading English pianist Mark Bebbington explores little-known Jewish influences in music. There are composers, including Debussy and Arthur Bliss, who weren’t Jewish but, though many may not know it, were influenced by Jews. Both had Jewish wives and the pieces of theirs that Mark will play in this concert – Bliss’s Masks and Debussy’s Preludes – weave Jewish threads. Then there are terrific Jewish composers whose fame has inexplicably dimmed over the years – the Italian master, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco with his blend of Neopolitan Jewishness, and Harriet Cohen, the remarkable woman who inspired a generation of fellow composers here in England, from Elgar and Vaughan Williams to her lover Sir Arnold Bax. In a world first, Mark Bebbington will in this concert play world premieres of some of Harriet Cohen’s pieces that have never been publicly performed (not even by Cohen herself), as well as an extremely rare performance of Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Jewish rhapsody Piedigrotta. In a playful finish, Mark will turn to a Jewish composer whose music is very famous indeed – with selections from the George Gershwin Songbook!
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